CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has granted two revealing interviews in the last month, where he has described his drug and alcohol use while at Baylor and in the National Football League, as well as his dealing marijuana during his college days.
Although Gordon has been reinstated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after nearly three years away from the game, Browns coach Hue Jackson went from saying he “had big plans” for the returning receiver to tempering expectations.
“I think the biggest thing is he still has to earn the right to be here,” Jackson said. “He earned the right to get back here. He has to earn the right to be here each and every day. He has been outstanding thus far here.
“Again, I think all of the things talked about were past behaviors. Obviously, I think he understands that the antennas are up everywhere, and they should be. He has to do the work to make sure that those things are in his past.”
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Gordon’s latest interview was with Sports Illustrated, and he detailed making $10,000 a month dealing marijuana.
Since his Pro Bowl year of 2013, Gordon has been suspended for 44 consecutive games dating back to the final week of the 2014 season, 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 56 career games, 55 of which were NFL bans for positive drug and alcohol tests.
“Obviously, there is nothing good that comes from those things, but again, that is in Josh’s past,” Jackson said. “Hopefully, that is all we hear from that. I’m sure there will be lessons learned from him from all of that. I said this a long time ago, I think there is a cleansing that people go through in these situations, but like I said, I don’t think there is anything great about that. That is a tough article, but I think that is behind him and we are going to move on.
“Everything makes me nervous. It is not just Josh. I’m nervous about everything right now. We have stuff happening across the country. We have stuff happening here. There is all kinds of stuff going on. I am nervous about everything to be honest with you, but again, we have to deal with things as they happen and that is what we are going to do.”
Jackson said the Browns vetted Gordon before welcoming him back to the organization, and since then, there have been plenty of conversations about his processes away from the facility.
“I see a guy that is in it, working hard,” Jackson said. “I have been forewarned about all the practice things. I do not see those things. I see a guy that has blended into this football team the right way and is stepping up, leading and trying to be the best version of himself. He has to go do it in a game just like any of our other players on Sunday.”