In a sobering interview with GQ, Gordon admitted that he used to get drunk or high before pretty much every game that he played in during his first three seasons with the Browns.
"I would have these little pre-made shots," Gordon told GQ. "I used to love Grand Marnier. I could drink it down smooth. I could usually drink a lot of it. 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 said he also liked to smoke weed before games if he could fit into his drug testing schedule.
"I used to make a ritual of it before every game," Gordon said. "If I had already been drug-tested that week, or the day before the game, I knew I had a couple days to buy to clean my system. Even before I was getting tested for alcohol, prior to my DWI in 2014, I would take the biggest bong rip I could. And try to conceal all the smell off all my clothes."
The Browns wide receiver also added that he would smoke week with "a bunch of guys" on the team before each game.
"But we're not talking about them," Gordon said.
Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards in 2013 despite the fact that he only played in 14 games. Unfortunately for Gordon though, his addiction finally caught up with him as he ended up missing 45 games over a period of four seasons (2013-16) due to failed drug tests.
The Browns receiver was suspended for two games in 2013 and 11 games in 2014. The 2014 suspension combined a 10-game punishment from the NFL, and a one-game punishment from the Browns. Gordon was also given a year-long suspension in February 2015.
Gordon had a chance to get reinstated in March of 2016, but that fell through when he turned in a diluted sample on a drug test, which is the same as a failed test in the eyes of the NFL. If you include the Browns' first eight games of the 2017 season, Gordon has now missed a total of 53 games in his career.
However, that streak is expected to end in a few weeks. Thanks to his conditional reinstatement, Gordon Chargers.for the Browns' Week 13 game against the
When Gordon does return, you can bet he won't be drinking before his games. The receiver said he actually did it so often during his first three seasons that he had it down to a formula.
"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 said. "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."
When asked by GQ how many times during his NFL career he drank or smoked weed before a game, Gordon gave an honest answer.
"Every game," Gordon said. "Probably every game of my career."
The receiver admits that he's basically been a functioning alcoholic his entire life.
"Highly functioning. For sure. [I] definitely pushed the limit," Gordon said. "I don't know how I did it. It could be before games, it could be before practice, after practice. You see other guys kinda doing it, but I would take it to another level a lot of times. Feeling as though I was being enabled, I thought it was an okay thing to do: 'Well, this is the norm.' And it wasn't. It definitely wasn't."
Gordon said he's telling his story now because it's a "therapeutic" way for him to reconcile his seedy past.
"It's beneficial for me at this point," Gordon said of opening up about his struggle with addiction. "The more I get it out, the more I feel better about it. The more that other people know, the more I feel at ease walking the streets, without this target on my back. Without having to look over my shoulder. It's therapeutic for me."
The Browns receiver will return to the team's facility on Tuesday, where he'll be allowed to attend meetings, engage in conditioning work and individual workouts. Stating on November 20, Gordon will be allowed to practice with the team. Assuming there aren't any setbacks, Gordon will be eligible to play in Week 13.