Russell Wilson: Josh Gordon Can ‘Retell Story’ with Seahawks
Though he’s only been a member of the Seahawks for a brief spell, Josh Gordon continues to leave a positive impression on new coaches and teammates.
Gordon, who Seattle was awarded off waivers from New England on November 1, made his team debut against San Francisco two weeks ago despite only having a handful of practices under his belt. Making an impact quickly, he caught two pivotal third-down passes from Russell Wilson, including a difficult grab in overtime with star cornerback Richard Sherman in coverage.
Picking up Seattle’s system faster than anticipated, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer couldn’t have been more pleased to see Gordon excel in his first action with the Seahawks while showcasing his high football IQ and rare ball skills.
“His ball skills are top-notch, they’re elite,” Schottenheimer gushed. “His ability to catch the ball, the second one over on our sideline was kind of low, Russ put it down low because Sherm was hanging on him. He’s just very confident with his ability to catch the football, and he’s a big target. He’s been great. He’s been great to work with.”
After making a conscious effort to immediately connect with his new receiver on and off the field upon his arrival, Wilson wasn’t surprised to see Gordon come through in the clutch for the Seahawks.
“Josh has been special for us,” Wilson said on Thursday. “I think that when he got here, that first week he was here, we got to spend some time together at the house and watch a bunch of film and just quality time together… He was doing all of his due diligence, taking notes like crazy, highlighting like crazy.”
“All those little things that matter to be a champion, I think that he definitely has. I think he’s got a great opportunity to retell his story.”
There’s never been a question about Gordon’s talent as a football player. Back in 2013 during his second NFL season with the Browns, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound receiver led the league with 1,646 receiving yards and caught nine touchdowns, garnering First-Team All-Pro honors.
But since that breakout campaign, Gordon’s career has been blighted by substance abuse and lengthy suspensions. He missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy before finally being reinstated late in the 2017 season.
During a four-year span, Gordon appeared in just 10 games for the Browns, catching 42 passes for 638 yards and one touchdown. At many points, his NFL career looked to be in jeopardy, including after stepping away from the Patriots late last season with another suspension looming.
Talent creates opportunity, however, and New England happily brought Gordon back this season after the league office again granted him conditional reinstatement. He appeared in six games before ankle and knee injuries landed him on injured reserve with a minor distinction, leading to his eventual release.
Now playing for his third team in two seasons, the Seahawks brought Gordon on board without setting any on-field expectations. General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll felt the organization would have the support system in place for him to be successful and if he could help the team in any capacity, the move would be well worth it.
When asked whether the 28-year-old Gordon has anything to prove to him, Schottenheimer immediately dismissed such a notion, reiterating that he’s been a pleasure to coach thus far.
“No. Absolutely not. I think every time guys come here, you’re excited to meet them and get to know them, that’s part of developing the relationship with him. He’s been awesome. He’s been awesome in the meetings. He’s been awesome on the field. Very coachable. It’s been really good.”
Benefiting from a bye week to continue mastering Seattle’s playbook and getting additional work on the practice field, Gordon will look to become a bigger focal point on offense starting Sunday in Philadelphia. In the process, the team hopes to foster his continued growth as an individual, further distancing himself from his dicey past.
After a stellar debut, Wilson can’t wait to see how his newest receiving weapon can help the Seahawks in their push for an NFC West division title.
“I think he’s an amazing, amazing guy. I think he works extremely hard. He’s passionate about the game. He’s cool, calm, and collected. I think that he’s got a great opportunity. I think that he’s been playing great football for us in the first game. Hopefully, we can carry that on.”