Coach Andy Reid says Kansas City Chiefs did homework on Josh Gordon

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Coach Andy Reid said the Kansas City Chiefs did their homework on Josh Gordon. He said he talked with former teammates and coaches of the eight-time suspended wide receiver to see what the Chiefs would be getting if they acquired him.

The Chiefs, he said, found nothing to make them uncomfortable about signing Gordon, initially to their practice squad and then this week adding him to their active roster. Gordon could play in an NFL game for the first time in two years on Sunday night when the Chiefs face the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium.

"I'm not going to get into the exacts on that," Reid said when asked why the Chiefs felt comfortable in adding Gordon. "But he has been doing well. The league keeps a close eye on that. They felt very comfortable with him, how he's handled the last few months, and he feels good about it himself. I've talked to a bunch of people that had a chance to coach him, play with him and he's a good kid. We all have our issues, and he's working through those things. More power to him.

"He's worked hard on his situation and making sure it was right. He's been reinstated by the league, which I thought was an important step, and so we welcome him aboard."

Gordon, now 30 years old, has taken a long path in his return to the NFL. He has been suspended by the league six times for violating its substance-abuse policies and twice by his team for violating its rules. Those violations all happened since being selected as a first-team All-Pro and leading the league in receiving yards with 1,646 for the Cleveland Browns in 2013 -- his second year in the NFL.

Since then, he has missed three full seasons and pieces of others but has been productive at times when he has played. He had 40 catches for 720 yards and three touchdowns during the 2018 season for the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, though he was suspended before the start of the playoffs.

"He's had a great eight months here of taking care of business," Reid said without being specific. "The league obviously understands that he's a good guy. He had his issues and he's working on that. Everybody deserves an opportunity to at least try to do the right thing."

It's difficult to imagine a big immediate role for Gordon because he joined the Chiefs last week. But the Chiefs are planning on him claiming a significant amount of playing time sooner or later. Special teams coordinator Dave Toub said the Chiefs wouldn't ask Gordon to play in the kicking game because he would eventually become a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver.

"He's going to help tremendously," Tyreek Hill said. "I feel like adding another veteran like that who's played in this league for a long time is crazy. He's definitely going to add another value to this team."

Gordon might not post big numbers for the Chiefs, even after he begins playing consistently. Hill and Travis Kelce have been Nos. 1 and 2 on the team in receiving every year since 2016, and other receivers have taken lesser roles.

Complementary receivers, such as Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle -- and in recent years Sammy Watkins -- have had big moments and games but not consistently. There just haven't been a lot of leftovers for any particular receiver after Hill and Kelce have been fed.

The Chiefs don't necessarily expect big numbers from Gordon. They just want him to help make an already potent offense even more difficult to defend.

"Everywhere he's been he's kind of dominated, so it's definitely exciting," quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. "He's not covered when he's covered, and he can make plays in one-on-one coverage, and I'm excited to have him here with us.

"He's a big receiver. He's going to be a guy that even if he's covered, he's not covered. You can kind of throw it up there and he can make plays."

Defensive back Tyrann Mathieu compared the 6-foot-3, 238-pound Gordon to Hall of Fame receiver Calvin Johnson in terms of his size and playmaking ability. Gordon will have a size advantage over any defensive back.

"The guy looks like one of those kinds of guys that you see two people on him and you still throw the ball to him," Mathieu said. "We're really just looking forward to seeing what he can come in and really bring to the team. Obviously, everybody in the locker room has a great responsibility to continue to encourage him and push him in the right direction, but from what I've seen, he's a hell of a football player."