Browns Receiver Ready to Return to NFL after Seeking Drug Addiction Treatment

Josh Gordon, receiver for the Cleveland Browns, has been suspended for more games than he’s played due to drug violations—last September, he was banned indefinitely from the NFL. Now, after seeking drug addiction treatment, he’s ready to play and swears “this time is different.”

Gordon got high for the first time in seventh grade on Xanax. The 26-year-old has since struggled with years of drug addiction. “If I had already been drug tested that week, or the day before the game, I knew I had a couple days to buy to clean my system,” he said. “Even before I was getting tested for alcohol, prior to my DWI in 2014, I would take the biggest bong rip I could.”

He also mentioned that before games, he would regularly take a couple of shots to try to warm his system up.

An inpatient stay at a drug addiction treatment facility led to six months of sobriety in March. Gordon describes this time as “probably the best shape of my life,” but unfortunately ended in an all-too-common drug addiction relapse. He had been looking for a way to reward himself; he had a couple of drinks at a bar, which turned into drinks and drugs every night, which turned into his “rock bottom.”

Gordon was denied reinstatement to the NFL in May, and sought drug addiction treatment once again, where he stayed for over three months. Now clean, he will be returning to the NFL in two weeks.

“The past times, every time I would try to stop it would be for the wrong reasons,” said Gordon. “Last time, I wanted to do it to save my career. Just for the job. The difference between now and then is that I’m doing it for myself.”

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