When it comes to avoiding trouble, Browns coach Mike Pettine believes some guys get it and some guys don't.
BEREA, Ohio -- When it comes to learning from their mistakes, Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine believes some guys get it and some others do not.
Third-year Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon could be in the latter category after a Memorial Day Weekend traffic stop that resulted in a ticket for going 14 miles over the speed limit and a citation issued to one of his passengers for possession of marijuana.
Already in Stage 3 of the NFL's Substance Abuse Program, Gordon is facing a potential indefinite suspension for a reported failed drug test during the offseason.
"Sometimes, guys get the message and it's too late," Pettine said. "In all my time in the league, there's always going to be a handful of guys that just don't get it, but I think the league's done more than enough to get the word out and the better clubs are the ones that are proactive rather than reactive, and I think that's the situation we have here.
"I think there's a lot of help available. I think the mandated programs for rookies are very important. I've sat in some of those meetings, and I think it's impressive, but there has to be a willingness on the other side.
"That's the situation that he's in. He's not the first guy in the league to be like that, where a guy is in the building and he's great, and has some issues, due to circumstances, when he's out of the building. I'm not a stranger to situations like that, and I don't think the rest of the staff is either."
As he has done since the ESPN "Outside The Lines" report became public on May 9, Pettine remained silent on the issue of how the team is handling Gordon's off-the-field troubles.
"That's a club issue, so we're not going to make any comments on his current situation," Pettine said. "I just think when there's issues off the field, regardless of the player, it can be (troubling), especially, if it's a pattern.
"Until we hear from the league, we're going to be business as usual. At this point, there is nothing to act on. That's part of it. I think everyone can sense the frustration. It's a difficult thing, but until it happens, like everybody else, we're still in a holding pattern."
During the free-agency period, the Browns added veteran wide receivers in Nate Burleson and Andrew Hawkins. According to Burleson, he is taking the wide receivers out to dinner Tuesday night to learn more about his new teammates, including Gordon, and build a sense of camaraderie.
"He's so gifted and so talented that it's hard to coach greatness," Burleson said of Gordon, the NFL's leader in receiving yards last season. "It's hard to motivate greatness. I'm not saying that he's great, but he has the talent to do that. I've played with Randy Moss and I've played with Calvin Johnson, and I've seen these guys first hand every day. I want to try to get him to understand if he can harness what he has and what he's been gifted with, he's going to be trouble in this league for a long time.
"That type of talent, you want on the field, whether it's at practice or game day. You only get so many guys every few years that can redefine the position, and he's one of those guys. He's not your traditional receiver. Neither is Calvin. Neither was Randy. These guys were hit with that special stick and God blessed them with attributes that you can only create in video games. For him to miss any time, it's a loss for everybody. The hope is that he is on the field."
According to his teammates, while his NFL career hangs in the balance, Gordon has put the distractions aside and approached the game in a professional manner. And their expectation is for him to continue to prepare as if he will not miss a single down of football this season.
"I think he understands how good he is, and he's working hard," Burleson said. "I've heard things about his work ethic, but from what I see, he's playing at a high level. You don't need to over-coach him. You don't need to push him. When he steps on this field, he straps up and goes to work. For some people, he makes it look easy. Just because they make it look easy doesn't mean they're not working hard."
Quarterback Brian Hoyer added, "I think he knows how important he is to this offense. He is such a threat and talent in that offense. You see how important it is to have a player like Josh. Hopefully, it all works out for the best and we go from there."