Letting Josh Gordon optimism creep in

I tried my best to throw cold water on the whole Josh Gordon thing. It’s a commonly-used defense mechanism for me concerning long-shot Cleveland Browns story lines. Alas, as the process continues to move along, and teammates continue to talk about Gordon performing in practice, it’s hard not to start looking forward to his return to the field. It’s hard to let all the history go, however.

Josh Gordon hasn’t played regularly since suiting up in five mediocre games in 2014. That mediocrity was made even worse with the chatter that Gordon was disruptive on the field and in the locker room. After helping the Browns win a game in Atlanta on a last-second field goal where Brian Hoyer threw three interceptions, Gordon faded from the box scores. In four losses to the Bills, Colts, Bengals, and Panthers, he was much less effective.

Time is an amazing salve, and it’s easy to forget a lot of negative things when the last game that Josh Gordon played in was December of 2014. It’s easy to forget when you realize he last played in a Browns game that featured both Brian Hoyer, and Johnny Manziel, not to mention Jordan Cameron, Travis Benjamin, Ahtyba Rubin, and Jabaal Sheard.

It’s human nature for NFL fans only to think about the best of a player’s career.

It’s human nature for NFL fans only to think about the best of a player’s career because, selfishly, that’s what they want to see back on the field and in the box score. Never mind that what Gordon did in 2013 wasn’t just a personal outlier, but something of a historical outlier as well. Gordon could be “good” in 2016 and not come close to approximating a season where he was able to go for nearly 500 yards combined in two games—both losses to Pittsburgh and Jacksonville.

Regardless of how unrealistic it all might be, I’m letting myself start to think about the possibilities. As I watch RG3 connect with another unlikely receiving storyline in Terrelle Pryor in back-to-back preseason games, I’m starting to think about Gordon out there making life easy on a QB who needs him. Despite all my reservations and a Browns-fan-fueled need for defense mechanisms, I’m starting to let the thoughts creep into my brain.

Is it a trap? Will I regret it? Is this just another “okey doke” setting up Browns fans for one of those miserable fourth quarter faces that is immortalized nearly every season by an HD camera trolling through the crowd? Maybe, but the upside of a healthy Josh Gordon with superior size, speed and a quarterback that can throw the deep ball is just too much to deny right now.

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