Josh Gordon had a hard road to the NFL before getting selected by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2012 Supplemental Draft. He saw a family apartment burn, had to transfer schools once and almost did again, and was caught twice on drug tests after smoking marijuana. It was the marijuana that eventually ended his career at Baylor, keeping him out of the picture during Robert Griffin III's tear through college football in 2011.
It was a big decision to go into the Supplemental Draft with no guarantee that he would be picked, but he was rewarded in a big way by Cleveland. As Cleveland.com reported on Thursday, Gordon is thankful to the Browns and vowed in a phone interview that he wouldn't go back to his old ways:
"Despite everything I've been through, despite being a kid with a spotty background, the Cleveland Browns stuck their neck out and risked taking me and put their faith and belief in me, and I won't let them down," Gordon said in a phone interview. "I'm grateful, and I know I can't go back to being the person I used to be."
Him being forced to leave Baylor was tough on everyone, especially his coach Art Briles. Art gave a shining review of Gordon's character, which probably didn't hurt his standing with the Browns as they were scouting him:
"It killed me, it really did, because as a coach, I think we're in the kid-saving business," said Briles, who's remained in close contact. "I know Josh's character, I know his heart, I know his mind, I know his soul and it's all good."
The Browns have to hope that he'll keep good on his promise, as they used a valuable second round pick from next season's draft to pick him up. Clearly, they saw something in him to spend that pick, and clearly he's grateful. It remains to be seen if he can reward the Browns and stay away from marijuana as his NFL career starts.