In 1980, Flash Gordon was trying to relive his glory days as a star quarterback for the New York Football Jets, fighting off the malicious Emperor Ming. In 2021, another Flash Gordon will try and rekindle his glory days as a football star yet again, this time for the Kansas City Chiefs. And hopefully, it is not the same old Josh Gordon we’ve seen before.
After being reinstated by the NFL for the fifth time in his rocky career, Gordon is set to join Kansas City’s high-octane offense to help buoy a team that has gotten off to a puzzling 1-2 start. Few football experts had K.C. pegged to hold sole possession of last place in the AFC West heading toward the season’s quarter pole. Week 4 now looms large as a surprising must-win game for a team desperate to prove the clunky start to the season has been a fluke.
Adding a player of Gordon’s talent can be a boost for a team looking to rebound from its worst start since 2015, but a big asterisk also comes with that talent. As long as Gordon can listen to Stephen A. Smith’s advice, the Chiefs have acquired a player who can immediately impact a team the moment he steps onto the field.
Unfortunately, Gordon will always have the baggage he has carried since his early days in college and with the Cleveland Browns, but his ability between the lines has never been in question. Kansas City will be Gordon’s fourth team since being drafted in 2012, and he brings with him a scarlet number, six total suspensions, stemming from violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. But everyone knows that talent continues to give birth to second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances to earn roster spots in this league. And the Chiefs are hoping that, when paired with the trio of Hill, Kelce, and Mahomes, Gordon can stay out of trouble long enough to help Kansas City win football games.
Gordon’s most recent action came in 2019 with both the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. He played in 11 total games and had 27 catches on 47 targets for 426 receiving yards and a touchdown. Gordon’s best year came in 2013 when he led the league in receiving yards (1,646) and was a first-team All-Pro.
Although no one in Kansas City is foolish enough to believe the team is adding an All-Pro-level player now, the run Gordon had in 2018 might provide better insight into the Flash of today.
After a tumultuous start to the year in Cleveland, Gordon was traded to New England to help reinforce a mediocre team that was still trying to milk all the winning Tom Brady had left in him. During a year in which Gordon caught Brady’s 500th career passing touchdown and even got a Super Bowl ring, he finished the season with more than 40 receptions and over 730 yards. However, he left the Patriots before the playoff run in December, citing mental health and yet another looming suspension.
It will likely take at least a week or two before Gordon is activated to the roster, primarily for conditioning purposes. When Gordon is activated, it won’t solve all of Kansas City’s issues. Flash Gordon can’t play linebacker or cornerback, after all. But Chiefs fans shouldn’t judge the move too quickly.
When a team boosts positional strength, even at a place where they have depth, it is typically a good move. However, the acquisition signals that the Chiefs have lost some faith in their receiving options not named Tyreek or Travis. Key drops from Pringle and Hardman on Sunday didn’t bode well for them going forward. Signing Gordon also doesn’t solve the fumble issues at the running back position, but it adds another receiving option that defenses must keep an eye on. Kansas City was never a team that would force defenses to stack eight in the box to stop Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Darrel Williams, but opening up the field even with yet another speedster on the outside could lead to bigger holes for a struggling rushing attack.
At this point, it’s unclear how many “second chances” a player will get with NFL franchises. If Andy Reid can keep Gordon sober long enough to reach the first week of February, Kansas City very well could have added one of the greatest deep-threat players of his generation.
To help save their season, can K.C. catch lightning in a bottle with Flash Gordon?