In an interview with GQ released this week, NFL wide receiver Josh Gordon revealed that he is clean and sober following a stay in rehab last year.
Prior to last year, Gordon had struggled with substance use throughout nearly his entire professional football career. GQ reports that he has not played a regular season football game since December 2014, due to his continued struggles.
In the candid sit-down with GQ, Gordon admitted that he had either used drugs or alcohol “before every game.” His first drug use took place in the seventh grade, and he continued to party hard throughout college and the beginning of his NFL career.
When discussing his addiction, Gordon was upfront about the process that led him to commit to a program, stating that, “I was like, I can definitely throw my hands up and [be] willing to do whatever, and go to any length. I need to fully buy into the program. I need to know what I am, I need to know who I am. If I’m still on the fence, if I’m still on the edge, that’s a dangerous place. And for me, I’ve had enough proof.”
Addiction in the NFL
Drug use in the NFL (and truly, all sports associations) has long-since been a hot topic of discussion, with big names emerging to reveal their struggles with substance abuse in a physically demanding, high-stress industry. With multi-million dollar contracts at stake, athletes are highly susceptible to the pressures of substance use.
Many athletes have come before Gordon to admit their battles with addiction, including famed quarterback Brett Favre and Lions’ wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who claimed that painkillers were handed out “like candy” in the league.
Another Cleveland Browns player, troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel, publicly battled demons and ended up attending treatment in the offseason—his fall from grace being documented in the media every step of the way. Manziel claimed he was sober in January 2017, though he is still struggling in the world of sports.
Gordon, however, is gearing up for a comeback—and this time, he’s taking the steps toward sobriety for himself.
Referencing his prior attempts at sobriety, Gordon said, “Only thing saving me at this point and time, and the difference between now and then, is that I’m doing it for myself. And I want something more for myself. I’m trying to do it for myself.”
With a whirlwind of discussion surrounding his return to football, Gordon appears poised to start over, with his health–and his sobriety–in check. He may resume playing for the Browns later this season.
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