The Cleveland Browns have swallowed themselves in optimism for most of the offseason, but things have gotten a bit rockier since training camp opened up, which became apparent to everybody who has been watching Hard Knocks. One of their top receivers requested a trade and received it, while another had to take himself back off the field.
The latter, Josh Gordon, seems to be back once again, but he has been ruled out of participating in the Browns’ third preseason game. According to Head Coach Hue Jackson, they expect him to be back practicing soon, and the goal is still to have him back on the field for the team’s season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Browns, who play the Eagles tomorrow night, have remade almost every facet of their team, especially the offense, with the possible exception being the offensive line. After trading Corey Coleman, only Gordon among wide receivers figures to be much of a familiar face, with trade acquisition Jarvis Landry and rookie Antonio Callaway likely assuming the other top three roles.
Jackson said that there’s a chance Gordon will participate in the team’s final preseason game against the Lions, but that the focus is making sure that he is back on the field for the start of the regular season. “I think that’s really important”, he said.
Gordon, who has battled substance abuse issues for all of his adult life and beyond, he spent most of his career off the field, serving a number of different suspensions for that very reason. He played his first NFL games in years late last season after returning from yet another suspension.
He looked to pick up where he left off heading into the 2018 season, but as training camp opened, he pulled himself out and elected to check himself into a treatment program in order to get himself right and keep himself on the path he is trying to stay on for good once and for all.
The former second-round draft pick is an enormous talent and was even a first-team All-Pro wide receiver several years ago in what was his second season, the last time that he has played a significant number of games. Even that year, however, began with a two-game suspension.
It has been years, and we still don’t know if he has the capacity to once again turn in a similar season to the one that he had seemingly so long ago, but the Browns are desperate to find out. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is excited to work with him again after saying that they built a rapport already back in the spring.