When the Kansas City Chiefs signed wide receiver Josh Gordon to their practice squad at the end of last September, people got very excited. While it was true that it had been years since the often-troubled wideout had shown much value to an NFL team, there was still that tantalizing 2013 season with the Cleveland Browns — the one in which he led the league with 1,646 yards while catching passes from the likes of the Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden.
But Gordon ended up being a disappointment, appearing in 12 games after being promoted to the active roster. He tallied only a dozen targets that he turned into five catches for just 32 yards — and for what it’s worth, a touchdown.
Through it all, however, Kansas City coaches stood by Gordon, saying that his time would come.
We’re still a long way from saying that Gordon’s time has arrived — but according to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, he’s closer to it.
Speaking of that energy (and here comes your eye-roll), I thought the best offensive player Thursday was WR Josh Gordon. In team, Gordon caught a 50-air-yard pass from Mahomes to beat DB Jaylen Watson for a TD and added a goal-line TD a few plays later.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) June 9, 2022
“You guys were out there,” he told reporters after the team’s OTA session on Thursday. “You could see that he’s running better [and] catching better. He’s working hard at all of this. He’s a good kid and he’s smart, so that helps. That’s the way he’s approached this whole thing — and he’s getting reps — so he can get himself back where he wants to be.”
Reid said that there were a number of factors that contributed to Gordon’s low production in 2021.
“It was kind of getting back in the flow of playing the game,” added Reid. “And then you’re throwing a whole new offense in the middle of it all — and he has to pick that up. And probably work himself into playing shape — just getting himself back.
“It seemed like it was moving fast for him, but now it’s kind of slowed down. It looks like he’s doing better after the catch; when he catches the ball, he’s able to maneuver around in space. I think he’s lost a little bit of weight. He was pretty big when he got here — he’s a big guy anyways — but I think he dropped a little bit of weight there too.”
Will all of that help Gordon find a place on a team that is currently swamped with wide receivers? And if so, will he generate enough production to justify taking a roster spot?
It’s entirely too early to answer these questions — but for the moment, one thing is clear: the team has not yet given up on Gordon.