BEREA, Ohio- He’s back. Browns talented wide receiver Josh Gordon returned to the practice field in Berea after serving a 10-game suspension for a failed drug test.
Gordon was the league’s leader in receiving yards last season and returns as the 6-4 Browns get set to face the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
“I just want to display some hard work and effort, not only me but try to get that atmosphere throughout the rest of the team and have us be in a position that the City of Cleveland hasn’t seen in the Browns in a long time, really try to make a playoff push,” Gordon said.
Gordon showed some rustiness by dropping two passes during the practice portion that was open to the media. The last time Gordon was suspended, it was a two-game suspension last year. In his first game back, he caught 10 passes for 146 yards and 1 touchdown. He thinks he can have another big game on Sunday.
“I definitely think I can,” he said. “In regards to the coaching and how they want to implement me into the game plan, that’s up to them. I want them to do what they see fit and just use me as an asset, whatever is easiest for them to do.”
Browns head coach Mike Pettine is downplaying how much Gordon will be used in his first game back, but Falcons coach Mike Smith expects the Pro Bowler to have an immediate impact.
Gordon’s teammates are finally glad to have the receiver back and the suspension behind them.
“He was excited to be out there, you could tell; he was amped up the adrenaline was definitely flowing and it was good for all of us to have him out there,” said quarterback Brian Hoyer.
The Browns intend to keep Gordon on a “pitch count” in practice and build up his reps throughout the week.
“I can tell he’s very excited to be out there,” said Pettine, who met with Gordon before practice. “He’s ready to go.”
On Tuesday, Gordon’s former teammate Nate Burleson said on NFL Network that he talked to Gordon leading up to his return to the field and Burleson quoted Gordon as saying he was going to ‘tear up the league,’ Gordon clarified that comment following practice.
“We might have a misquote,” Gordon said. “I told him I definitely wanted to outwork everybody at my position or anybody opposing me, just to put that effort out there and that leadership role through showing what I could do on the field as a sense throughout the entire league. He probably took it and [spun] it, but it’s cool. Nate’s my guy so in that context, sure.”
It’s only a matter of time before we see if Gordon really does ‘tear up the league’ now that his suspension has been served.