is participating in OTAs while he awaits a potential year-long suspension for his most recent violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. (Mark Duncan/AP)
If anyone knows what it's like to overcome personal demons to become a Hall of Fame wide receiver, it's Minnesota Vikings wideout Cris Carter. Prior to joining the Vikings in 1990, Carter was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles after three seasons with the team because of his substance-abuse issues off the field.
That's why it's not a shock that Carter sees a lot of himself in troubled Cleveland Browns wideout Josh Gordon. Coming off a 2013 season in which he was the most productive player at his position in the game, Gordon is facing a year-long suspension for another failed marijuana test; and to make matters worse, he was cited over Memorial Day weekend for speeding, and the passenger in the car with him had marijuana in his possession.
As Carter simply put it, right now, substances like marijuana are more important to Gordon than football.
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"It's fairly obvious that (using substances) is more important to him than anything else,'' the former Ohio State star told Cleveland.com 's Mary Kay Cabot. "It's always been very, very important to him. It's well-documented that it's been primary since early college. Maybe it even goes back to early high school.''
That doesn't mean that Carter doesn't think highly of Gordon and believe that he can make the same turnaround that he did, including eventually making it to Canton one day.
"He's really one of the few receivers that's playing in the game now that with a sustained long and healthy career you can say he's got the potential to wear a gold jacket,'' Carter said. "He's pretty special.''
Ultimately, it's up to the individual to decide to get his priorities in order. Time will tell whether Gordon can follow Carter's lead.