BEREA, Ohio — Josh Gordon used drugs or alcohol before every NFL game he played, Gordon told the magazine GQ in an interview released Monday.
The Browns wide receiver told GQ that he made taking some substance “a ritual … before every game.”
“We would stay at the team hotel, and then players are allowed to go back home, get what they need and then go to the game,” Gordon said. “So I’d leave the hotel early morning, go home, eat breakfast, do my little ritual, whatever it may be, some weed, some alcohol and then go to the game. And then, I’d definitely be partying after every game, win or lose. Every game.”
Gordon said he started taking drugs in seventh grade, continued through college and even did something before every game he played in 2013, when he led the league in receiving yards while playing 14 games.
“When I got to the league, I think they had their doubts from the very beginning,” Gordon said. “From the day they drafted me, they had to know there was some type of risk involved. I don’t think that they specifically knew. But I’m sure they had their doubts. [I] missed a lot of meetings, showed up late a lot of times, eyes were probably bloodshot on many occasions. But I guess you couldn’t really draw a definitive conclusion because I thought I was evasive enough. And because nobody told me anything.”
Gordon said he’s different now because he went to a lengthy rehab for himself, not for someone else.
“At this point, I thought, ‘If I want any type of a life, if I wanted to live, [I'll stop],’” he said. “It was like: You’re never going back to f—ing work ever if you can’t figure out how to live. Because at this point in time, the trajectory, you’re going to die. You’re going to kill yourself.”
He also said he moved to Gainesville, Florida, because he could not take what he called harassment from Browns fans in Cleveland.
“Living in Cleveland, sometimes it could be a nightmare,” Gordon said. “I’ve been harassed, had drinks thrown at me. I’ve been [followed] in the grocery store, heckled everywhere. At the games, people harassed and heckled my brothers and my mom. [My] brothers got into fights in the stands. Cars [have] been jumped on. Somebody dented the hood of the car. Had to sue a guy and get the money back ’cause he damaged the car. People are throwing money, pennies, to break the windows. So Cleveland was rough, man.”
Browns coach Hue Jackson said the interview would not affect his thinking on Gordon’s rejoining the team.
“I think he was letting things out, if that’s what was said,” Jackson said. “I think he was cleansing himself of his past, and I get that, a little bit. But again, I think he said what he felt he needed to say.”
At his first scouting combine after being hired, Jackson said he would not put up with nonsense. On Monday, he said, “that’s not going to change.”
“I think we need to let him get out what he feels like he needs to get out,” Jackson said. “I’m sure this is part of his rehabilitation as well. To say certain things that you’ve done, I think that’s kind of good. Because you got to put it behind you as fast as you can.”
Jackson said he will need to know that Gordon is not trying to talk his way into being released with this interview.
“I don’t think he is trying to do that,” he said. “I do need to feel comfortable that he’s not. If he’s coming back to play football, I think he knows he needs to play football here.”