The tale of two players in Cleveland continues. One day removed from Hue Jackson's comments on Johnny Manziel, Executive Vice President, Sashi Brown has issued a statement on Josh Gordon.
"Josh is a tremendously talented young man," Brown said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I've gotten a chance to know Josh over the three years that I've been in Cleveland and know him generally to be a good young man."
"He understands that he's made some mistakes in the past," Brown added. "I think he's accountable for those and everything that we see and hear in talking to his representation and those that have been in communication with him is that he's eager to get back and contribute. And we feel like, you know, if he's kind of pushed those things, there's a spot for him on the roster to certainly help."
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The NFL has a process for reinstatement. Not even the NFL knows how long it will take, which puts Gordon and the Browns in a wait formation. Brown said the team is "very limited in terms of what we can do in terms of communication and contacting" but added, "by all signs, he's on the path to come back and be reinstated."
One of the Browns immediate needs is at wide receiver. Travis Benjamin is a free agent and according to Brown, contract talks are still ongoing. Dwayne Bowe is expected to be released and the lack of talent and size left poses a problem. The return of Gordon would significantly improve the Browns receiving corps.
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Gordon led the NFL in receiving in 2013 while only playing in only 14 games due to a two-game substance abuse suspension. He caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and 9 touchdowns. He averaged 18.9 yards per catch in just his second season.
Following his league-leading season, the NFL suspended Gordon for a year due to a violation of the substance abuse policy. The suspension was later reduced to 10 games. Gordon played in five games in 2014 and was suspended by the team for the final game due to a violation of team rules. Gordon and troubled quarterback, Johnny Manziel allegedly missed a Saturday practice following a night of partying.
Reports claim that Browns officials had to go to Manziel's apartment to wake the two up. Gordon would plead guilty to a driving while impaired charge in September of 2014 earning him a year suspension by the NFL that became effective February 3, 2015. On February 3, 2016, Gordon applied for reinstatement and currently waits on a decision by the NFL.
Gordon stated via twitter in early February that he has his priorities right and that the top priority is to get himself right so he can get back to football. Should the NFL reinstate Gordon, he will be out of chances. One bad decision, failed drug test or arrest will cost him a career in the NFL. He would be banned for life.
The Browns have been positive when asked about Gordon. Head coach, Hue Jackson said, "What I'm anxious to do is evaluate him just like we're going to evaluate every player on our roster and see if they are the right fit for the Cleveland Browns."
With Sashi Brown's statement today and Hue Jackson's statement on Manziel yesterday, the Browns are defining two paths. The Gordon path shows humility, owns their mistakes and makes an effort to improve. The Manziel path is a path full of rationalizing, justifying and blaming everyone else and denial of any problem.
Today, it appears the Manziel path goes out of Cleveland and the Gordon path leads into Cleveland.