Josh Gordon to Be Released or Traded by Browns After 6-Plus Seasons with Team

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 24:  Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns lines up for a play in the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Solider Field on December 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images). (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Wide receiver Josh Gordon's rocky tenure with the Cleveland Browns will end Monday, as the team announced its plan to release the former Pro Bowler following Week 2:

The 27-year-old was among the NFL's top receivers when he played, but multiple drug- and alcohol-related suspensions kept him off the field for over two years until his return in 2017.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported possible insight into Gordon's release:

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Gordon injured his hamstring at a promotional shoot.

Schefter also reported teams are already calling the Browns with the belief the team will trade him instead of release him.

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported Saturday the organization was concerned about substance abuse, but Rapoport reported Sunday morning that Gordon's "release was not a result of a substance-abuse violation or failing a test." 

Appearing in five games, Gordon had 18 receptions for 335 yards and one touchdown for the 0-16 Browns in 2017.

He had a 17-yard touchdown catch against the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 before suffering a hamstring injury that will keep him out of Sunday's clash with the New Orleans Saints

After being suspended for the entire 2015 campaign, he served a four-game ban to begin 2016, but he opted to enter a rehab facility shortly before being reinstated.

According to ESPN.com's Pat McManamon, Gordon released the following statement regarding his decision:

"After careful thought and deep consideration I've decided that I need to step away from pursuing my return to the Browns and my football career to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility. This is the right decision for me and one that I hope will enable me to gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person. I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent and the community through this extremely challenging process."

With Gordon out of the picture in favor of his getting help, Browns head coach Hue Jackson said this about his future with the team, per Tony Grossi of ESPN.com:

In addition to his time missed from 2015 through 2017, he was suspended two games in 2013 and 11 contests in 2014.

Despite missing a pair of games in 2013, the former Baylor and Utah standout turned in a dominant season that saw him grab 87 catches for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns en route to being named a first-team All-Pro.

He has struggled to return to that level since, however, due almost exclusively to the fact that he has failed to comply with the NFL's substance-abuse policy on numerous occasions.

There figures to be an opportunity available for Gordon somewhere in the league, and he could make the Browns regret their decision if he comes anywhere close to the form he displayed a few years ago.   

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