Until his coaches learn whether or not Josh Gordon can produce in consecutive games for New England, the newest Patriots wideout will be used like a Mad Libs template.
There will be scores of talking heads giving X, Y and Z reason why the Gordon trade was brilliant for both the troubled player and New England’s offense.
And the takes will run the gamut from well-reasoned to head-scratching.
On Thursday, Boston sports fans were treated to both ends of that spectrum.
Peter King says Josh Gordon is not ‘worthy’ of Patriots
Speaking to WEEI radio in Massachusetts, NBC Sports’ Peter King offered up a rather indefensible argument of why Gordon shouldn’t be in New England — not because he isn’t talented enough to join Tom Brady’s huddle or that he won’t be able to learn the playbook — but because Gordon’s troubled past disqualifies him.
Peter King on @DaleKeefeWEEI: "The Patriots are a proud franchise, and I realize what I am saying is a little bit of idealistic crapola, but the Patriots should not be in business with Josh Gordon. He is not worthy of this franchise.”
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) September 20, 2018
To be clear, Josh Gordon has a history of substance abuse and well-documented efforts of rehabilitation as well. This is a man who hasn’t been gifted a second chance. He’s had to fight addiction to earn it. He still fights it.
The Patriots, on the other hand, employed Aaron Hernandez despite reports that his college coaches told teams not to draft him. This is also the same franchise that was wrapped up in Spygate and Deflategate scandals. All of this is to say nothing of New England currently employing wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is currently suspended for violating the league’s substance policy for performance-enhancing drugs.
There is no NFL team that is holier than thou. Only NFL teams who want to win and will try out as many talented players as it takes to do so. King’s argument has no merit on just about any level. Talent is what separates those who are worthy of being on an NFL roster from those who aren’t.
No one is doubting Gordon’s talent.
Ex-teammate believes New England will help Gordon stay on track
On the other side of the spectrum, there are arguments like the one made by former Cleveland Browns wideout Andrew Hawkins.
Hawkins played with Gordon in Cleveland for three seasons before spending an offseason with the Patriots prior to his retirement. Hawkins’ brother, Artrell, was also a member of the New England defense for two seasons under head coach Bill Belichick.
Speaking to the Boston Globe, Andrew Hawkins mentioned that the intense focus on football and the team mantra of “Do your job” can help Gordon far more than playing in Cleveland could.
“It’s a culture where you come in early and leave late,” Hawkins told the Globe. “It’s a culture where you get in the playbook, and it’s, ‘We all have a job to do.’
“I think Josh a lot of times is a person who is a product of his environment and putting him in an environment like New England, where it’s ball all the time, I think that could be a really good situation for him.”
There’s also the notion that this could be a final chance for Gordon in the NFL. But the one thing Hawkins wouldn’t do is say that Gordon wasn’t talented enough or smart enough to play in New England.
On the contrary, Hawkins said Gordon makes the Patriots instantly better. And as for his time in New England being different than his stint with the Browns, there were no definitive answers except for a quick reality check.
“I don’t know if this time is going to be different,” Hawkins said. “I don’t think anybody knows. The people that were helping him now weren’t the ones helping him two years ago in Cleveland.”
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