Josh Gordon and the Cleveland Browns don't deserve the benefit of the doubt

Josh Gordon has been reinstated on a provisional basis, but don't start talking about what these guys are going to do just yet.

To expect anything from Josh Gordon this season would be asinine. For those of you who haven't retired from fantasy football, I'm sure you'll be taking late-round fliers on Gordon purely on the chance that he once again becomes the kind of receiver who can put up more than 100 yards and multiple touchdowns in a single game. It makes sense because no matter how distant that track record appears in the rear view mirror, by Week 5 of an NFL season, your fantasy team might need that bit of hope to keep your season alive. For Josh Gordon and the Cleveland Browns, however, his career and their strategy have nothing to do with fantasy. 

For us, it's been a harsh reality of suspensions and locker room strife. It's been chance piled on top of chance, piled on top of social media posts with Johnny Manziel, piled on top of suspensions. To think that Gordon is going to break the cycle with any certainty seems absurd.

On the positive side of the ledger, we've all predicted that "this" would be Gordon's last chance at least once, and thus far we've all been wrong. Whether he was arrested for DUI or humbled into selling cars for Sarchione Auto Group like any mortal without football-playing ability, Gordon seems like he's had the Contra cheat code. At some point, he has to deliver on one of these chances. Until then, it's too difficult for me to muster any positive feelings as an outside observer, but that won't stop all of you I'm sure. these are the Browns, there's a new head coach in town. Because these are the Browns, there's a new quarterback with him. Because these are the Browns, there's a guest wide receivers coach, Chad Johnson, heading to camp. Because these are the Browns, a previously productive receiver with incredible games to his name is eligible to return after four games that the outside world is predicting to be losses. Because these are the Browns, all these things help feed an unprecedented and unhealthy savior complex that consistently pops to the surface regarding Cleveland football. 

Maybe Hue Jackson is the guy to help get through to Josh Gordon. Maybe Hue Jackson is the guy to help resurrect the career of Robert Griffin III. Maybe they, plus Chad Johnson and rookie receiver Corey Coleman are all here to create an offense the likes of which Browns fans have never seen... You know... In a good way. 

All I see when I read back this paragraph, however, is the word "maybe." "Maybe" with a heaping pile of "probably not."

Obviously, I'll be rooting for Hue Jackson, RG3, and yes, even Gordon, should he find his way to the active roster. Until then, I'll just go ahead and skip any plans for celebration. There's some potential there, but these guys have to prove it. Hue Jackson and RG3 have to prove that the Browns' off-season plan for the quarterback wasn't a disaster. Josh Gordon has to prove that he can clear the hurdles to make it onto the field. Add in all the Chad Johnson coaching, Rookie of the Year projections, and player mentorship you want, but I'm only talking about all this stuff for real if it works.

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