CLEVELAND -- By the end of the weekend, the Cleveland Browns will be down one of their top wide receivers, Josh Gordon, because of a four-game suspension as a part of his reinstatement to the National Football League following a 17-month ban for the latest in a series of failed drug tests.
As part of his reinstatement, Gordon will not be able to practice with the team during the ban, but the one-time Pro Bowl wide receiver has a plan for what he will do throughout the four-week suspension.
“My plan is to get a bunch of work here at practice today -- yesterday, we had a good day -- and go into this game strong, take away from it as much as I can possibly mentally, retain as much information as I can,” Gordon said.
“I know going into the regular season, I’ll be here with the team working out with our training staff, make sure I stay in shape and am able to be at the point to pick up where I left off from this last preseason game. Hopefully, the transition is very smooth for me.”
Although Gordon will be unable to play in the first four regular-season games, he was able to play in the preseason, and made his exhibition debut in last Friday’s 30-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
In his preseason debut, Gordon caught two passes for 87 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown reception and another 44-yard catch.
“It was definitely scary, for sure,” Gordon said. “I didn’t know what it was going to be like or what the talent level really was until I made my first play. Then, you feel a certain type of confidence as though you belong here.”
As the Browns prepare to play the preseason finale against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium Thursday night, coach Hue Jackson wants to see more progress from Gordon, who will be able to attend meetings and work out at the team facility but not practice during his suspension.
“He has been off to a pretty good start,” Jackson said. “If you can score a touchdown a game and catch the long ones, that is pretty good. He needs to stay in it. Obviously, he won’t be able to be out there with the team out at practice, but he will be able to be in the building, which I think is a huge plus.
“We really appreciate the league allowing him to do that. I think he will be able to kind of follow along with where we are and stay in it from that standpoint. That is really all he can do and just make sure he is on top of things and really understanding how we game plan, what our process is. As far as getting ready for a game, he will get a chance to see that first hand.
“He looks like Josh. What I have learned is that he is a really good football player that can do a lot of different things. He is just another tool that we will add to our arsenal once we get him back. We will continue to keep growing him. I think you guys all know what he is. I do now. I’m looking forward to getting him back.”
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