Apologies in advance for the fact that it has been several days in a row now that our daily AFC North articles have centered around topics pertaining to the Cleveland Browns, but the fact of the matter is that the most pertinent news has come from Berea over the course of the week.
In today’s news, we bring you an apparent change of pace from what I previously covered about a week or so ago. Earlier in the offseason, Cleveland.com writer Mary Kay Cabot, one of the most well-established beat writers for the team, reported that she was told the team would move on from suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon should he be reinstated.
The Browns hold the troubled wide receiver’s rights over the course of the next two seasons, but they, according to her report, were finished waiting on him. Gordon, who has spent 43 of his past 48 games ineligible due to suspensions, would be released if they could not find a trading partner for him.
Yesterday, vice president of football operations Sashi Brown seemed to contradict that sentiment in speaking to reporters at the league meetings. Citing the team’s overall situation at the wide receiver position, he was certainly keeping the door open for the former first-team All-Pro.
“We’re not in a position at wide receiver to turn down a guy like Josh if we feel like he’s settled himself”, Brown told reporters. “Josh, assuming that he’d play at the level we started to see glimpses of last preseason and certainly when he was in the league before, would be a talent I think no team in the NFL would turn down if he got back in”.
Gordon most recently served an indefinite suspension over the course of the 2015 season. He was conditionally reinstated the following year pending the serving of an additional four-game suspension for a further violation of the substance abuse policy, but during the time that he was serving that suspension, he parted from the team in order to seek treatment in a rehabilitation center.
Because of that, Gordon was never actually reinstated and thus is reapplying once again. “Josh is going to have an opportunity to reapply to the NFL”, Brown said, “and, at that time, we’ll make a decision when we know what’s going on”. For the record, I believe he has already applied.
According to Gordon’s business partner, Michael Johnson, the wide receiver has been living with him recently and has been making significant progress in his life, stating that “he is in the best place mentally that he has been in dating back years before entering the NFL”.
There was a time not so long ago when members of the organization more or less said publicly that they were closing the chapter on Gordon in Cleveland. Now it seems that they are open to entertaining the possibility of retaining him provided that they are comfortable with the level of risk involved in him relapsing once again and hurting the team. Of course, they could also be angling for a trade.