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Why oft-suspended receiver Josh Gordon felt the Kansas City Chiefs were his best fit

Sam McDowell, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Football

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At age 22, Josh Gordon broke out as one of the NFL’s brightest young stars, already a league leader in receiving and a fast-riser to being one of the best you-have-to-account-for-him threats in the game.

At 30 now, Gordon has played in just 64 career games — a mere 37 in the past eight years — because of a slew of suspensions for repeat violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

His talent has offered him yet another chance, this one with the Chiefs, coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Gordon insists he doesn’t feel urgency to make this opportunity stick any more than the last ones, which did not.

But he’s attempting to make a return after his sixth and most recent suspension held him out of the league for more than a year, so there’s certainly some added importance to make this one a success. And that did play a factor in his decision to sign with the Chiefs last month.

“Kansas City, for an offensive player right now, and the offensive climate we have in the NFL, is a dream destination,” said Gordon, speaking with reporters for the first time since his signing on Sept. 27. “It was an easy decision to make.

“I knew nothing about the city. I just knew there was a good group of guys here. The camaraderie, the family-life environment —when I got here, I knew immediately this was a place that could look out for me, take care of me, and I could reciprocate that back and come in and do my job and make it easy on myself.”

And he did have a decision to make. Gordon said the Seahawks expressed interest in having him return to Seattle, his last stop in 2019 before yet another suspension.

“Seattle obviously was still there. Kansas City came in at the last minute,” Gordon said. “It’s something I’ve been eyeing. If given an opportunity, I’d love to be there. There (were) several other teams, though.

“I think this was just the main one that made the most sense.”

 

Gordon arrived in Kansas City in better shape than the team anticipated. During his most recent suspension — officially lifted hours before he signed with the Chiefs — he said he spent his time “nonstop working out.”

Because of that, the team added him to the active roster after just a week of practice. He played nine snaps in his Chiefs debut Sunday against the Bills, catching one pass for 11 yards. The plan called for somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20 plays, but an early and long-lasting deficit placed the Chiefs in hurry-up mode for the duration, limiting snaps for a player growing accustomed to terminology in a new playbook.

When the Chiefs visit Washington this weekend, expect a heavier workload.

“We still have a few plays on the game-plan sheet from last week,” coach Andy Reid said. “He would’ve gotten right around there, probably 20 snaps or so, especially when we were in the throw situations. He’s got a couple more plays in the game plan, so I think he’ll probably get a few more snaps than that. We’ll see how it times out, though.”

The cameo prevented a thorough analysis as to what kind of player the Chiefs have added to their roster in-season. Gordon said Friday he doesn’t feel 21 anymore. But he also doesn’t believe he’s lost any of his athleticism.

“Fortunately, I don’t have the wear and tear on my body that somebody I guess normally at this age and stage in their career, so hopefully I can play until I’m 37-38,” Gordon said. “I’m just fortunate to be in this position. I don’t feel like there’s a rush to do anything or to do something I’ve done in the past. I just want to be part of a great team and organization (and) play my role.

“I know I’m coming in late to the system. There’s guys that have been here since training camp. I really want to come in and try to earn my position.”

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