Josh Gordon’s NFL career could be over after the Cleveland Browns wideout was denied reinstatement by the league Thursday.
Gordon’s pro career is best remembered for his NFL-leading 1,646 receiving yards in 2013, but he played an additional five games (after serving a 10-game suspension) the next season.
We haven’t seen Gordon since, and if he ever returns to the field he might find the NFL today is a very different league than the one he left in 2014.
Tom Brady’s legacy was totally different
At the conclusion of the 2014 season, we still thought Brady might never win another ring. A number of playoff losses, including two in the Super Bowl to Eli Manning’s Giants, had some pundits predicting Brady would never get over the hump and earn an elusive fourth title.
How silly that seems now. Only months after Gordon’s last NFL game, Brady’s Patriots beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. He’s since added a fifth ring and there is no longer any sensible argument for why he shouldn’t be considered the greatest quarterback of all time.
Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers were a top contender
Two seasons removed from a Super Bowl appearance and one year from an NFC title game loss, the 49ers entered 2014 as a consensus top contender to win it all. It didn’t shake out that way, as the team finished 8-8.
Then things really fell apart with the firing of their head coach, Harbaugh. Only now are the 49ers showing signs of being on the upswing.
Chip Kelly was a genius
The hottest name to move from the college ranks to the NFL in a long time, Kelly led the Eagles to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth in 2013, running about a million plays and scoring almost as many points along the way (remember Nick Foles throwing seven touchdowns in a game?).
Kelly’s Eagles went 10-6 again in 2014, but the writing was on the wall: the NFL had figured out his offense wasn’t quite as innovative as advertised.
Since then, Kelly has been fired by two teams. He’s currently unemployed.
3 cities lost their team
Technically, only two teams have relocated since 2014 (the Rams are already in Los Angeles and the Chargers will begin play there this fall), but three teams (including the Raiders, who will eventually move to Las Vegas) are on the move.
Just three years ago, that would have seemed absolutely impossible.
Browns were draft winners
The Browns emerged from the 2014 draft with two first-round picks who many pundits predicted would be the centerpieces of a new era: Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert.
It didn’t end well, clearly.
Wait, but didn’t we all just praise the Browns for turning their franchise around by adding multiple difference-makers in the first round of the 2017 draft?
Perhaps some things never change.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)
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