CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns wasted no time integrating returning wide receiver Josh Gordon into the offense.
On Gordon’s first day back after a near three-year absence because of suspensions, coach Hue Jackson ran his talented receiver with the first-team offense despite the fact that the one-time Pro Bowl pass-catcher is not eligible to play until the Browns travel to Los Angeles to play the Chargers on December 3.
“You better believe I did,” Jackson said. “I just wanted to make myself feel happy for a little bit.
“He is big. He is fast. He is athletic and strong. He has strong hands, and he can run. He can really run. That is exciting. He has some work to do the rest of this week, and next week, we will stick him out there and let him play.”
PHOTOS: Josh Gordon returns to practice for Cleveland Browns
Unlike previous reinstatements, Gordon returned to the Browns in tremendous physical condition, which Jackson believes will make him an instant contributor.
“You can now get the focus on the things that really matter, which is preparing for a game as opposed to getting weight off, getting in shape or those types of things,” Jackson said. “I think he is in really good shape. I think he is in a really good place just as a person, first and foremost, and then, in good shape. I think he is eager to continue to learn and to get better. He has done everything that we have asked him to do.”
Since his Pro Bowl season of 2013, Gordon has been suspended for 41 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 53 career games, 52 of which were NFL bans for positive drug and alcohol tests.
“I don’t think it is important to go back and revisit any of that,” Jackson said. “We have him now. He is out there practicing. He is with his teammates. He has done everything we have asked him to do and on we go.”
Since joining the Browns through a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft, Gordon has turned 161 catches 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 of those catches going for touchdowns after missing the first two games of the season because of a suspension.
His yardage total, average yards per game (117.6), 18.9 yards per reception and 95-yard touchdown were NFL bests.
“Josh is just a different talent,” Jackson said. “I think we all recognized that and appreciate that. I think his teammates see it. That is what it is all about. He is a really good player. As I told him today, he is going to earn it. There are a lot of things he has to continue to do and work through, and I think he is willing to do that.”