Many football players have pregame rituals. For some, it’s listening to music. For others it’s reciting a brief prayer.
For Josh Gordon, it was drinking alcohol or smoking weed and doing what he could to “get the motor running.”
“I used to make a ritual of it before every game,” said Gordon on his pregame alcohol and drug use in an interview with GQ.
“I would have these little pre-made shots. I used to love Grand Marnier. I could drink it down smooth. I could usually drink a lot of it,” Gordon told the magazine. “But if it wasn’t that, it might be a whiskey or something. And I would drink probably like half a glass, or a couple shots to try and warm my system up, basically. To get the motor running. That’s what I would do for games.”
Gordon sat down and conducted the candid interview with GQ just hours prior to his initial meeting with Roger Goodell last week.
Gordon was conditionally reinstated to the NFL Wednesday after missing the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He can rejoin Browns’ practices as soon as November 20th.
Josh Gordon said he drank or smoked weed before every game of his NFL and college career.
(Mark Duncan/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Gordon, 26, has not played in a game since Dec. 21, 2014
The troubled receiver said he grew into a habit of leaving the team hotel early morning of game days so he could “do my little ritual” before later joining the team at the stadium.
“We would stay at the team hotel and then players are allowed to go back home, get what they need, and then go to the game,” Gordon told GQ. “So I’d leave the hotel early morning, go home, eat breakfast, do my little ritual, whatever it may be, some weed, some alcohol, and then go to the game. And then, I’d definitely be partying after every game, win or lose. Every game.”
When asked to confirm this included his 2013 season — in which Gordon led the NFL in receiving with 1,646 yards — Gordon replied, “Yeah.”
Gordon said he first started taking drugs in seventh grade, Xanax and marijuana, as a way to cope with anxiety and fear of not “fitting in.”
Josh Gordon led the NFL in receiving in 2013.
He would continue using drugs throughout his eventual college and NFL career.
“Socially, I felt awkward, talking with people, telling them where I was living,” Gordon told GQ, explaining why he first started using drugs. “Other kids have nicer stuff than you, ‘you’re poor’ type of s***. A lot of inadequacy, I think, is the reason why I initially got into it.”
Browns coach Hue Jackson told ESPN he’s fine with Gordon’s revealing interview, explaining that admitting to his past transgressions will help Gordon move forward.
“I think he was letting things out, if that’s what was said,” Jackson told ESPN. “I think he was cleansing himself of his past, and I get that, a little bit. But again, I think he said what he felt he needed to say.”