No Flashback for Flash Gordon

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

During Super Bowl week NESN reported that the Patriots were paying for Josh Gordon’s drug treatment at an inpatient facility in Florida.

The report also said the Patriots, the NFL and the NFL Players Association are working with Gordon to treat his addiction in hopes of returning to the NFL and be successful in all aspects in life.

And Gordon would even receive a championship ring from the Patriots.

Hopefully Gordon makes a full recovery. Hope he enjoys being called a champion for the rest of his life. And if he feels good enough to resume his playing career, that would be awesome.

It just shouldn’t be in New England with the Patriots.

This may sound cold-blooded, but for the business-first Patriots, it’s a move that should be a no-brainer. If the most important ability is availability, then it’s a move that makes complete sense.

Gordon will be a restricted free agent once free agency starts. New England can re-sign him or let Gordon sign an offer sheet with another team. The Patriots would then have a week to either match or let Gordon continue his career elsewhere.

The other options are the Patriots can trade Gordon, like they did with Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams, or waive Gordon, making him an unrestricted free agent. Whatever option that ends Gordon’s time with the Patriots is what’s best for New England, despite the loss on the field.

Finding a reliable #2 receiver hasn’t been easy for New England. They failed in free agency (the erstwhile Chad Ochocinco) and through the draft (Aaron Dobson). Cooks was a great fit in 2017, but the Patriots traded Cooks instead of paying him.

Malcolm Mitchell shined in the second half of his rookie season, but injuries kept him off the field, ultimately leading the Patriots to cut Mitchell before the 2018 season.

With all these failures, New England took a chance on Gordon, who wore out his welcome with the then-beleaguered Cleveland Browns, which is impressive, if you think about it. As much of a mess Cleveland had been over the years, for the Browns to be pushed to the point of being fed up with a player says a lot.

For a while, with a clean slate in New England, Gordon seemingly benefitted from the fresh start. Traded on September 17th, Gordon was on the field in just 13 days. And he was exactly what the Patriots needed to stretch the field (18.0 yards per reception) and draw some attention away from Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.

But the good vibes lasted just eleven weeks. With a suspension for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the league’s substance abuse policy on the horizon, Gordon stepped away from the game to get the help he needs.

And hopefully Gordon is finally able to put the demons that have chased him for so long to bed, and becomes the professional that has always been expected of him.

Just not in New England.

Taking chances on talented players with questionable character is nothing new for the Patriots. Sometimes it works (Randy Moss), sometimes it blows up in their face (Aaron Hernandez, Albert Haynesworth). But one thing we’ve seen is the Patriots don’t have patience for players that can’t live up to the Patriot Way.

Once Moss started yapping to the media about money, Moss was shipped out. Following Chandler Jones’ shirtless episode outside the Foxborough Police Department, New England virtually gave him away to the Arizona Cardinals after the season. When Jamie Collins stopped doing his job and freelanced on the field, the Patriots changed his address to Cleveland.

Based on those examples, it would be surprising if the Patriots gave Gordon a second chance. As well as Gordon fits with the team once the ball is snapped, violating the terms of his reinstatement, on more than one occasion reportedly, despite knowing the NFL was watching him closely should be enough for the Patriots to move on.

Gordon’s situation isn’t about football at this point. He needs to get his life straight. If treatment leads to Gordon living a productive life without football, then that would be great. If he’s able to play football again after treatment, that would be even better. Hopefully it happens.

Any chance of that happening in New England should be over. Working under the Patriots’ strict structure wasn’t enough to keep Gordon from drifting off course again. Give Gordon a ring. And when he walks out the door, it should be for the last time as a Patriot.

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