CLEVELAND -- There is something about being told that one cannot do something that increases the hunger and desire to do said task, and in the case of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, that task is playing in the National Football League.
For multiple violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Gordon was suspended for the better part of the last three seasons, but was conditionally reinstated by Commissioner Roger Goodell last week and reported to the team facility Tuesday, ready to get back to work.
“I don’t think by any stretch that this Josh Gordon, who I have spent time with the last day or so, is in that thought process,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said of Gordon being dishonest about his situation. “I think he has had his butt kicked up over his shoulders quite a few times, and that has been his doing.
“I think at some point in time, you mature and you understand what you need to do to accomplish your goals and to just be better. What I see is a guy who is grateful for the opportunity to be back here, grateful to have the opportunity to be in the National Football League, and more so than that, wants to do better, have a better life and have a better opportunity in life. That is what I see.”
PHOTOS: Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon reinstated by NFL
Since his Pro Bowl season of 2013, Gordon has been suspended for 41 consecutive games dating back to the final week of 2014, which was a team ban for reportedly missing a walk-through prior to a trip to Baltimore to play the Ravens.
Gordon has been suspended for a total of 53 career games, 52 of which were NFL bans for positive drug and alcohol tests.
Terms of his latest reinstatement are conditional, and Gordon will be eligible to return to game action on Sunday, December 3 at the Los Angeles Chargers. Gordon can return to practice on Monday, November 20, but already is attending meetings and going through individual workouts.
“He is inside in the indoor doing whatever he is doing, running the routes,” Jackson said. “I don’t think anybody is throwing to him.
“He can get away from us and maybe himself go catch on the jugs machine and those type of things, but we can’t have any type of contact with him physically that way doing the physical things that we do on the practice field.”
By going through individual work, Jackson feels Gordon will be ready to have a role in the Browns’ offense when he returns to the team.
“Obviously, he is in our meetings, and then, he spends a lot of time with our strength-and-conditioning coach,” Jackson said. “He goes through that process, but then, he is also going through the plays away from us so there is a scripted play so he can get back into that mood of understanding, hearing play calls and where to line up and all of those things.
“Obviously, he is not out there with his teammates practicing because that is not what he is allowed to do, but he is doing everything else that you can do to prepare himself, so when he can get back out there, he will hit the ground running.”