Josh Gordon Announces Return to Browns After Missing over 3 Weeks of Camp

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2018

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon catches a pass during practice at the NFL football team's training camp facility, Wednesday, June 13, 2018, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon announced Saturday he's returning to the organization after a month-long absence focused on his "overall mental and physical health."

"As I humbly return to being a member of this team with an opportunity to get back to playing this game I love, I realize in order for me to reach my full potential my primary focus must remain on my sobriety and mental well-being," Gordon said.

The Browns provided a statement from general manager John Dorsey, who explained the wideout will be worked back into the offense at a steady pace.

"We are glad Josh has reached a point where he can return to our organization, be in our building and be around his teammates," he said. "As he assimilates back to our team, Josh will initially participate in meetings and conditioning and will gradually resume all football activities as deemed appropriate."

ESPN's Adam Schefter provided additional details about Gordon's decision to step away from football when he left the team July 23:

Although Gordon didn't discuss any information about his time away, he thanked the NFL, the Players Association, the Browns, the University of Florida and business manager Michael Johnson Jr. for "playing such pivotal roles during this process."

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The 27-year-old Texas native appeared in five games for Cleveland last season. It represented his first NFL action since 2014 due to suspensions for violations of the league's substance-abuse policy and treatment at an inpatient rehab facility.

Cleveland has two preseason games remaining—next Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles and an Aug. 30 clash with the Detroit Lions. Dorsey didn't say whether the team expected the receiver to play in those contests or even the team's regular-season opener Sept. 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Browns brought in veteran wideout Dez Bryant for a free-agent visit during Gordon's absence. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported Bryant left without a contract offer but noted that didn't mean either side had made a final decision. It's uncertain whether the front office would still have interest with their top outside threat set to return.

Once given full clearance, Gordon will join a vastly upgraded Cleveland offense that also features running backs Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb, receivers Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins and tight end David Njoku at the disposal of either Tyrod Taylor or Baker Mayfield.