When the Kansas City Chiefs welcome the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football, the offense will feature a new, high-profile addition: wide receiver Josh Gordon. In his Thursday media appearance, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy spoke in depth about the talented (but oft-suspended) player.
“Josh has been working his tail off,” he claimed. “The kid is a very unique athlete; he can do a lot of the special things. We just want to make sure that we’re bringing him along the right way.
“We want to make sure that when he’s out there, he has an opportunity to be successful at the things that he can do. The thing that I love about him? He’s a smart kid. He’s very intelligent.”
To Bieniemy, acquiring Gordin was a no-brainer.
“So with Josh being out there, why not take that chance and bring him on board,” he asked, “especially with the culture and good people that we have in that locker room — in this entire building — that have helped us to become the organization that we’ve become?”
He also credited the players and staff for helping Gordon transition to the team.
“[Wide receivers] coach Joe Bleymaier has done a great job with him,” noted Bieniemy. “Pat [Mahomes] and all those guys have surrounded him. They’re supporting him — and they’re doing a great job of lifting him up and helping him through this process.
“We’ll see exactly how it goes on game day — but we just want to take it one step at a time.”
For Gordon, ability has never been a question; over his career, he’s averaged 17.2 yards per reception. But due to frequent substance-abuse suspensions, he’s appeared in only 63 regular-season games since entering the league in 2012. Only once has a played a full year with any team — and he was suspended for the entire 2015, 2016 and 2020 seasons.
The Chiefs coaches appear ready to give Gordon the opportunity to move on from his past.
“We’ve obviously all had some type of conversation with Josh,” remarked Bieniemy. “My job is to make sure that Josh maximizes the opportunities that are presented to him today. It’s not for me to comment on anything this kid is going through.”
Gordon — listed at 6-feet-3 and 225 pounds — best fits the X receiver role that was vacated when Sammy Watkins signed with the Baltimore Ravens in free agency. Bieniemy all but confirmed that since he’s joining the team a month into the season, Gordon will focus on that specific role — rather than learning the entire offense.
“I think you have to,” the coach admitted. “You want to make sure that kid is comfortable with what he’s doing. I will say this: Josh has a very high football IQ. He’s had an opportunity to suit up on a number of teams in this league. So he’s gained a lot of knowledge over the years.”
After previously playing with Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, Gordon will now be on the field with a third Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Bieniemy believes Gordon’s experience in winning organizations will help him in adjusting to playing with Patrick Mahomes.
“Those two have clicked from Day 1,” Bieniemy said of Mahomes and Gordon. “I think more than anything, the way they communicate with each other — sitting together in meeting rooms. Those guys having an opportunity to sit there and just share information with one another — and then having an opportunity to go out there and do it together on the field. I think all that matters.”
Throughout his remarks, Bieniemy was consistent in appreciating Gordon’s talent — while also tempering expectations for Gordon’s first football action since a Divisional round playoff game following the 2019 season.
“I don’t want to sit here and make any predictions,” he cautioned, “but I will say this as a father of two: the only thing that you want is the best for this kid. And I don’t want this kid feeling pressured to feel like he has to put a cape on and go do something that he hasn’t done in a while.
“No, I want this kid to have an opportunity to enjoy this moment. The only thing that matters is today. Let this kid enjoy today.
“You know what? Tomorrow, we’ll do it all over again.”