According to his coaches, Josh Gordon has remained focused on football despite a looming drug suspension.
BEREA, Ohio -- Between two traffic violations, one of which resulted in a charge of driving within impaired, and a looming indefinite suspension for a reported failed drug test during the offseason, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has had plenty of reasons to be distracted in training camp.
However, the third-year professional, who led the NFL in receiving yards last season despite missing the first two games because of a drug-related suspension, has remained focused on competing hard during training camp.
"You know, to his credit, he's been very, very good about coming into work and making it about football," Browns wide receivers coach Mike McDaniel said after Tuesday's practice. "In his mind, he wants to be as good as there is, so when you're showing plays of other people at his position doing things that he hasn't put in his game yet, he's interested and very competitive to work on that. He's been pretty good. I've had no qualms about how he's worked with me.
"My job is to develop players, so it really hasn't been an issue for me, and I just go and work on his craft with him. He's been very diligent when he's been here, and for the person, and for the whole team, we hope for the best and just wait for the process to get through itself and take care of itself."
Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards, and an average output of 117.6 yards per game. Also, his 95-yard touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars last December was the longest catch and scoring reception of the season.
For his achievements, Gordon was tabbed as an All-Pro wide receiver, and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl.
"He's a very unique talent in that his ceiling, there's not much higher than that," McDaniel said. "It's semantics to sit here and say he's a first, second, third. At the end of the day, he led the league in receiving. If you extrapolated it to 16 games, it would've been the second-highest total in the history of the game, and he has a lot of room to grow as a route runner.
"He is a very natural receiver, catches it. He's just learning the nuances of NFL offenses because the best receivers are the ones that can get open in the timing of the play, so you have to kind of get a clock in your head of when to get open and how to do it against different techniques. That's our primary focus every day, but he's gotten a lot better going against these great corners."
Because of the potential for Gordon to miss time, the natural reaction would be to limit his repetitions and develop other receivers, who would have more responsibilities when the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Pro Bowler serves any suspension.
However, the Browns have not needed to limit Gordon because the pace at which they practice allows everyone to get plenty of time.
"There's an abundance of reps, and so, you're walking a fine line of working people, but not trying to overwork them," McDaniel said. "He fits very fluidly in that process because guys do need rest anyway.
"He needs to keep developing his game because at some point in time, he's going to put a Browns jersey on, and he's going to have to be productive. He's a very young player. It doesn't really hinder anybody else. He gets the most out of his reps during practice."
While Gordon waits for the results of his appeal hearing, which started Friday and was continued again on Monday, the Browns expect him to be the same productive wide receiver he has shown himself to be during the first 10 days of practice in training camp.
"It's been reported, I think, it'll be a chunk of time," Browns coach Mike Pettine said of waiting for the resolution. "We just don't know when. We don't have an exact date. As frustrating as it is for Josh, I think he's handled it well. He's been practicing hard, giving good effort, finishing plays. Assuming we don't hear anything, then, he'll be out there Saturday."