When the news broke that the Kansas City Chiefs were signing former 2013 All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon to their practice squad, it was difficult for fans not to dream big about what could come of it. At one point, Gordon was as dominant a receiver as there was in the NFL. But now, he’s 30 years old — and in each of the last four seasons he’s played, a suspension has shortened it.
As we tried to temper our expectations for Gordon, video clips of him from Wednesday’s practice came to light. Even they showed nothing more than half-speed individual drills, his physique strengthened the intrigue.
Then on Thursday, Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu did his best to stoke the boiler of the Gordon hype train.
“He kind of reminds me of Calvin Johnson,” Mathieu told reporters about his reaction to seeing him in practice. “Just the way he’s built.”
When that name is being thrown out there, how is anyone supposed to temper their expectations for the newest Chiefs receiver?
And Mathieu continued to shovel coal into the fire pit.
“[He] looks like one of those kinds of guys where you see two people on him, you still throw the ball to him,” he said. “We really just look forward to seeing what he can come in and bring to the team. Obviously, everybody in the locker room has a great responsibility to continue to encourage him, push him in the right direction — but from what I’ve seen, he’s a hell of a football player.”
When he talked about Gordon on Thursday, tight end Travis Kelce lit up.
“He was flying around, man — it was fun!” Kelce said of Gordon’s Wednesday practice. “When you see an athlete like that run, it’s pretty cool.”
When Gordon is eventually elevated to the active roster, he’ll have a role — but it’s currently unclear what it will be. Assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Dave Toub was able to assure reporters that Gordon wouldn’t be playing special teams.
“I talked to him yesterday — [and I] asked, ‘Can you return kicks?’” recalled Toub. “And he just started laughing... I didn’t ask him if he could cover any kicks, either — but I just think he’s beyond that.”
That shouldn’t surprise anyone; even if backup receivers are typically used as bodies on special teams, with Gordon’s age — and his reputation — he wouldn’t fit in that category. That means he’s exclusively an offensive player — and Toub said he sees Gordon as one of the top receivers on the depth chart.
“If he comes in to help us, it’s going to be as a two or a three receiver — and in that role, he wouldn’t be playing special teams,” noted Toub. “The main thing that he needs to do right now is get up to speed in what we’re doing; our offense is complicated and there’s a lot to it. He’s not coming to special teams meetings right now; he’s meeting with [wide receivers coach] Joe Bleymaier.”
It could be that Toub may simply have high expectations for Gordon — but he’s also the assistant head coach; it’s likely he knows what head coach Andy Reid is thinking.
So it sounds like the coaching staff is ready for their newest acquisition to make a big impact on the offense. Now it’s just a matter of when Gordon gets the call-up to the active roster.