Cris Carter knows what it's like to hit rock bottom with addiction, then focus on improving as a person and becoming a great football player.
He looks at Browns receiver Josh Gordon, who is facing a year suspension from the NFL for a failed drug test, and doesn't think he's reached rock bottom or wants to get help yet.
Carter, whose substance-abuse problem nearly pushed him out of football before he was cut by the Eagles and built a Hall of Fame career with the Vikings, gave his opinion of Gordon to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. And it was pretty blunt.
"It's fairly obvious that (using substances) is more important to him than anything else,'' Carter told the Plain Dealer. "It's always been very, very important to him. It's well-documented that it's been primary since early college. Maybe it even goes back to early high school.''
Gordon had issues in college at Baylor and Utah before entering the NFL supplemental draft, where the Browns selected him in the second round. Gordon was perhaps the best receiver in the NFL last season, with 1,646 yards in 14 games. But Gordon got in trouble again, and his issues looked even worse when he was cited for speeding on May 25 and a passenger in his car was cited for marijuana possession.
Carter said he has assisted many NFL players with their off-field issues, but said he only helps those who want to be helped, and he didn't put Gordon in that category yet. He told the Plain Dealer that Gordon's situation might get worse before it gets better.
In the Plain Dealer interview, he was sympathetic to Gordon because he understands addiction.
"Fans are unrealistic because they all think if they were in that situation, they would never do that,'' said Carter. "Everyone always thinks it's easy.
"Josh can't even help himself. How can he help the fans?''
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