Gordon's defense is low blow

Josh Gordon

Talk of Fame Network

by Ron Borges

On April 13 Cleveland Browns' wide receiver Josh Gordon will allegedly turn 24.

On his resume it says he allegedly spent three years in college, two at Baylor and one at Utah.

Apparently at no time in nearly 24 years did he learn to tell time.

That is the thrust of the grievance the NFL Players Association recently filed, trying to overturn the third of four suspensions he's faced since entering the NFL three years ago. For the record, that's more than one per season, which takes some doing even if you're trying.

Cleveland suspended him for the season finale vs. Baltimore after he showed up late for the Browns' walk-through the day before the game. The Browns allege Gordon had already been late five or six times. The union says he was never "officially told he'd been tardy.'' How can a guy who catches flying footballs for a living not see teammates already at work when he arrives?

Does a grown man --or, as his peers might put it, "a grown ass man'' (which is interesting phraseology on several fronts, by the way) -- need to be told he's tardy when he's repeatedly late? Is he in middle school or the NFL?

Gordon's desire to get that last game back is understandable, though. It's not really about the $48,564 in salary he lost, although the way things are going he may soon need it. It's really about losing a year toward free agency.

Why would a one-game suspension cost him that? It wouldn't, were it not for the fact he opened the season with a 10-game suspension for failing the NFL's drug policy and that he needs six games for the season to count. It's why holdouts never last more than 10 weeks.

Now remember this is the same young man who five days after the season ended, was drinking on a plane bound for Las Vegas with, among others, a former Browns' coach, which was a violation of the restrictions placed on him for being in the NFL's drug and alcohol program. He knew of those restrictions. That didn't stop him from ordering a pale ale or whatever.

Guess what? The NFL tested him after he landed. Shocker. Now he's suspended for NEXT season and he's appealing a suspension for being tardy?

Part of his defense will reportedly be that other Browns' players repeatedly broke team rules and were not suspended. They will cite year-long transgressions by both Johnny Manziel and the No. 8 overall pick, Justin Gilbert. Manziel was also punished for being late to that final walk-through, and Gilbert was benched for the finale for being late to a team meeting the night before -- but it was too late to officially suspend him for the game. Afterward, head coach Mike Pettine said Gilbert was suspended for all intents and purposes.

So Gordon is not only appealing being punished for being a lousy employee chronically late to work on those days when he was legally allowed to come to work but is throwing his teammates under the bus to do it. Eagle scout.

Assuming Gordon's 2015 suspension sticks, by the end of next season he will have been active for 35 NFL games during his career and suspended for 29. Has anyone suggested to him that's not a good career path?

Manziel, was similarly banished for the final game for being tardy and forced to sit in the visitors' locker room. His response was to enter rehab a month later for drug and alcohol issues. Josh Gordon's was to get suspended for NEXT season five days later, then file a grievance because no one told him when they pay you a million bucks they'd like you to be at work on time.

As defenses go, it's lame. But one thing is sure: it's the definition of gall.