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Gordon Returns To Browns; WR Will Continue Working His Way Back
Wide receiver Josh Gordon has returned to the Cleveland Browns, expressing gratitude to the team for giving him time to work on his 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 in a statement Saturday.

Gordon had been away from the team since it opened training camp last month. League sources had told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Gordon was seeking additional counseling to deal with his mental health and anxiety. The wide receiver has said that he previously used alcohol or marijuana when he was anxious, something he cannot do without another violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy.

"I never lost trust in him," head coach Hue Jackson said Saturday. "Obviously, he was doing something to make himself better and put himself in a better place, which I think is very important. I think the health part for him is real important, and I get that and respect that."

Still, we'll need to monitor this. The Browns moved Gordon to the active/non-football injury list, and NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Gordon is not cleared to practice.

"He cannot practice but may watch," McCarthy said in an email to the Associated Press. "No timetable on next steps."

Browns general manager John Dorsey said in a statement that Gordon will start by participating in meetings and conditioning. The receiver will gradually return to all football activities, Dorsey said.

Jackson said there's a "chance" that Gordon could be ready for the season opener, but there's no guarantee that he'll step right back into a starting spot.

The decision for Gordon to return to practice will include the doctors overseeing his counseling.

Jackson said he has met with Gordon and is confident that the receiver "is in a real solid place."

Gordon has missed most of the past three seasons because of suspensions stemming from violations of the substance abuse policy. He returned last Dec. 3 and immediately saved the Browns' receivers from a season of total humiliation.

Gordon was the only one that could catch the ball consistently and ultimately registered 18 receptions for 335 yards and one touchdown.

As Bleacher Report noted, he can run every route with speed, precision and power and then make catches few can. After the reception, Gordon's size and speed stand out, and he drags tacklers and drops others with stiff arms. When he's on the field, he's a difference-maker. So whatever concerns you might have with him are based on his lengthy history of off-field issues.

For his career, he has appeared in 40 games and recorded 179 receptions for 3,089 yards and 15 touchdowns. In 2013, he led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards. In other words, we know everything we need to about Gordon. As long as he's on the field he's a unique talent capable of high-end production.

There's some perceived risk given the history, but the possible rewards seem worth it to us.