Wide receiver Josh Gordon was as promising a talent as any in the recent history of the NFL. But the 26-year-old's career was derailed by a long struggle with substance abuse that saw him suspended time and time again for testing positive for drugs or alcohol. He hasn't played a down since 2014, but last week Gordon was conditionally reinstated by the league.
In an interview with GQ published Monday, Gordon said he is now sober and detailed just how bad things got during his battles with addiction. He claimed that he always had something in his system during each and every NFL game he played.
"I used to make a ritual of it before every game," Gordon told GQ's Clay Skipper. "Even before I was getting tested for alcohol, prior to my DWI in 2014, I would take the biggest bong rip I could."
Sometimes, Gordon's pre-game routine meant downing shots before kickoff. "I would have these little pre-made shots," he said. "I used to love Grand Marnier. I could drink it down smooth. I could usually drink a lot of it. But if it wasn't that, it might be a whiskey or something. And I would drink probably like half a glass, or a couple shots to try and warm my system up, basically. To get the motor running. That's what I would do for games."
In the interview, Gordon described himself as a "highly functioning" alcoholic who had been on some sort of substance for every game dating back to college. But he also seemed to have truly reflected on his past struggles, saying he had finally gotten sober not for a shot at playing pro ball again or for other people but for himself.
Gordon is expected to report to the Cleveland Browns tomorrow, and could participate in team practices as soon as November 27.
"We respect and commend Josh for taking the steps necessary to have the opportunity to return to the league," Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said, according to the team's website. "Josh will be in our building in the coming days and we look forward to having him back and sitting with him to discuss his future on our team."