CLEVELAND -- Wide receiver Josh Gordon very well may have played his last down of football for the Cleveland Browns.
One day after it was announced that Gordon needed “to step away from pursuing my return to the Browns and football career” to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility in an effort to “reach my full potential as a person,” Browns coach Hue Jackson expressed support, but also, the importance of moving on with football.
"Obviously, Josh is not here and is doing what he thinks he needs to do for his life, which we support 100 percent,” Jackson said following Friday’s practice. “Today is really the last Josh Gordon comment I want to make about that. I think what is best for our football team is that we move forward and move on. He is not going to be with us. We wish him well, but we are moving forward. We are going to move on.”
While supporting Gordon’s decision to make a positive change in his life, Jackson wants the focus to be on the players in the Browns’ locker room that are preparing for Sunday’s game against Washington at FedEx Field.
“I think the most important thing I can do is make sure that our football team that are here, the guys that are practicing, the guys that are going to play, the guys that are in the meeting room and working hard to get ready for a game is that our focus and our attention to detail is right,” Jackson said.
“That is my main concern. I think what we need to do is just close that chapter right now. He is doing what he needs to do. We need to do what we need to do, which is continue to move forward.”
Since joining the Browns through a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft, Gordon turned 161 passes into 2,754 yards and 14 touchdowns. A Pro Bowl player in 2013, Gordon set a franchise record with an NFL-best 1,646 yards on 87 receptions with nine touchdowns. His yardage total, 117.6 yards per game, 18.9 yards per reception and 95-yard touchdown were also NFL bests.
Although Gordon showed promise when he was on the field, the one-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl wide receiver has been suspended for 31 of the last 36 games. However, Jackson refuses to let that Gordon’s issues disrupt the team’s pursuits.
“I wouldn’t let anything become a distraction to our team,” Jackson said. "One of my jobs is to make sure that our team is focused on what we need to do, which is play a game every Sunday. It is unfortunate we don’t have any Monday night games or any of those things, but that is part of it.
“That is the most important job, one of them, that I have is just making sure that we don’t get caught up in any distractions, and our team leaders, I think we have done a good job of doing that. The guys have had a really good week of practice. They have been focused. They have worked hard. That is a tribute to our coaches and our players. We are looking forward to playing this Sunday.”