Trouble Tax: NFL Players Who Would Be Superstars If…

From Josh Gordon and Justin Blackmon to Aaron Hernandez, we recap NFL players who would be superstars if they hadn’t found themselves in trouble with the law.

Most NFL players are nice normal men, with families and friends whom they care about. Although sometimes, NFL players (as well as all other major sports) can’t seem to get away from their past and throw everything away. We’ve seen it before with, now Hall of Famer, Cris Carter. Carter abused alcohol and drugs before being cut by Buddy Ryan and the Philadelphia Eagles. That time away from the game helped Carter turn his life around.

We’re going to look at some NFL players who could have (and still can) become superstars if given the right guidance.


First up is Stud wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon showed what he can do when he is on the field, but troubles with his personal life are taking him away from that opportunity. With 9 touchdowns and over 1,600 yards in just 14 games in his second NFL season, Gordon showed he is nearly unstoppable. But off-field troubles have limited his ability to make it on to the field. Much like Carter, Gordon struggles with alcohol and drug addiction, specifically Marijuana. After being suspended for 10 games in the 2014 season, Gordon was suspended for the entirety of the 2015 season for alcohol use, which he was banned from using, thanks to a previous DUI. If Gordon can beat his addiction, there’s no doubt in his ability to beat defenders and become a superstar in the NFL.


Justin Blackmon set the NFL world on fire after a solid rookie season of 64 receptions for 865 yards, which were both tops for rookies. Sadly though, this is where the good ends for the 2012 fifth overall pick. After repeated failed drug tests, DUI’s and other off field issues, it is unlikely that this two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award will ever play another NFL snap. Blackmon is currently under an indefinite suspension and reportedly has-not and will-not apply for reinstatement. Is Blackmon going out like Ricky Williams? Where marijuana, among other things, is just more important than playing in the NFL. Who knows? But for his sake, let’s hope he gets the help he needs so can be a great person, since it’s unlikely he’ll ever be a great football player.


Aaron Hernandez’s story doesn’t need a recap. An accused serial murderer has no place in the NFL, or in society in general. But Hernandez could have been special. With Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski the sky was the limit. But as the story far too frequently goes, some people can leave the past behind them. As its likely Hernandez will never set foot out of prison, his story is over and it could have been a great one.

–Michael Hersey