Josh Gordon, the Browns just can’t quit you.
Cleveland executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown told the Akron Beacon Journal that the Browns aren’t in a position to “turn down a guy like Josh.”
The former Pro Bowl receiver violated the NFL substance-abuse policy on multiple cases, causing him to miss 43 of the Browns’ past 48 games. He hopes to be reinstated by the league in April or May.
When he has played, Gordon has been exceptional. In 2013, he led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,646 despite missing four games.
“Josh, assuming that he’d play at the level we started to see glimpses of last preseason and certainly when he was in the league before, would be a talent I think no team in the NFL would turn down if he got back in. Our decision with Josh is just understanding where he is in his process and being able to add him. But we’re not in a position at wide receiver to turn down a guy like Josh if we feel like he’s settled himself. Now, that’s a separate question, but Josh is going to have an opportunity to reapply to the NFL, and at that time, we’ll make a decision when we know what’s going on.”
Here’s a sampling of Twitter reaction to that statement:
If you get mad when someone Tweets the possibility of Josh Gordon playing for Browns this year, you're a hater.
— JeremyinAkron (@JeremyinAkron) March 30, 2017
One note on Josh Gordon, if he returns: #Browns envision Gordon & Kenny Britt on the outside, Corey Coleman working the slot. Lot of talent…
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 30, 2017
Josh Gordon wasn't just the best WR the @Browns ever had, he looked like the best WR to ever play the game … He has the talent still …
— Voice of Reason (@PapaKelch) March 30, 2017
Not signing Pryor or any other WRs shows me that Sashi is counting on Josh Gordon big time.
— Sean (@TheKardiacKid) March 30, 2017
Damn man some of you guys are treating Josh Gordon like he kneeled for the national anthem or something
— Championship Mode (@_Jimbo_Slice_79) March 29, 2017
Josh Gordon is a low-risk, "High" reward.
— Turner Maney (@turnermaney) March 29, 2017
If this Instagram post from Gordon’s account is any indication, the man is in seriously good shape:
FanSided’s Thomas Moore says let’s not get carried away just yet:
For those fans who choose to ignore that Gordon has only appeared in five of Cleveland’s last 48 games, Brown’s comments were proof positive that Gordon will be welcomed back if the day comes that he is reinstated by the league. For others, though, it all sounded like the same story from 2014, when Gordon was suspended for 11 games; 2015, when Gordon was suspended for 16 games; and 2016, when Gordon was suspended for the entire season.
Cleveland.com’s Bud Shaw says the Browns should be in no hurry to make a decision on Gordon:
As long as the Browns aren’t talking about waiting for Gordon at the expense of acquiring talent at wide receiver, there’s little harm in Brown’s approach. They showed that last year by drafting Corey Coleman No. 15 and selecting three other wideouts in the draft, albeit with lower-round picks. This off-season they added Kenny Britt. And they’re still not in a position to dismiss a talent like Gordon’s under the circumstances. Those circumstances: He’s relatively cheap, under their control for two seasons and not even back in the league yet for them to assess his value to them. Gordon turns 26 in a few weeks. There’s a long way to go in this saga. And no good reason for the Browns to prematurely write the ending of the Cleveland chapter for Gordon in late March.
NFL.com’s Marc Sessler agrees, saying there’s no reason for the Browns to let him go now:
Gordon’s business manager, Michael Johnson, told ESPN last month that “Josh is living with me and is in the best place mentally that he has been in dating back years before entering the NFL.” Said Johnson: “He has taken the proper steps to treat his issues and has followed a very strict protocol that the league and our team here has laid out for him. He’s also in the best shape of his life and feels even better than he did when he had his breakout year in 2013. This will be a special year for Josh and we are all very proud of the way he has taken the necessary steps to turn his life around.” If true, the Browns hardly have the in-house firepower to wave farewell to a young player who looked utterly dominant last summer. Gordon, the NFL’s leading receiver from 2013, has burned the Browns and their fan base for years but a worse scenario exists: letting him float away — finally healthy — to the Steelers, Ravens or Bengals.
On ESPN’s “First Take,” Max Kellerman said the Browns should keep Gordon, but Stephen A. Smith thinks otherwise:
On 92.3 The Fan’s “Bull & Fox,” Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot says Sashi Browns comments are all about creating trade interest in Gordon:
SB Nation’s Kyle Phelps, writing from a Bengals perspective, thinks Gordon’s no good for anybody:
Ultimately, Gordon could potentially bring a lot of talent to the Bengals for a relatively reasonable price. But, it is much more likely that he would continue to be a consistent distraction and waste of both money and a roster spot. This is one of those situations in which the Bengals would be much better off finding a competitive receiver in the draft, allowing Gordon to self-destruct with some other franchise.
What do you think? Should the Browns bring back Josh Gordon? Why?