The sometimes-promising, often-troubled pairing of wide receiver Josh Gordon and the Cleveland Browns appears done.
On Saturday, the Browns announced plans to release Gordon on Monday and, in the interim, are trying to work out a trade for him. The move comes only one game into Gordon’s latest attempt to return to the Browns and reestablish himself as a standout NFL player, following a series of suspensions under the league’s substance abuse policy.
“This afternoon we informed Josh Gordon and his representatives that we are going to release him on Monday,” Browns General Manager John Dorsey said in a statement. “For the past six years, the Browns have fully supported and invested in Josh, both personally and professionally and wanted the best for him, but unfortunately we’ve reached a point where we feel it’s best to part ways and move forward. We wish Josh well.”
Gordon had a tying touchdown catch late in regulation last Sunday in Cleveland, as the Browns opened the season by tying the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-21. That 17-yard reception was his only catch of the game.
The Browns play Sunday at New Orleans. Earlier Saturday, Cleveland ruled Gordon out of that game because of a hamstring injury.
“I’m extremely honored and blessed to have been able to grow up and start a life amongst such a passionate and motivated group of individuals,” Gordon wrote on Instagram Saturday, adding: “P.S. anybody need a deep threat WR??”
According to multiple reports, Gordon arrived late to the Browns’ facility Saturday and team officials felt that he’d exhausted his opportunities with the organization. The team reportedly has potential suitors, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. If that doesn’t happen, Gordon, 27, will be free to sign with another NFL team if any chooses to give him a chance.
Gordon established himself as one of the league’s most promising young players when he had 87 catches for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games as a second-year pro in 2013. But off-field issues and suspensions derailed his career. Gordon has played in only 11 regular-season NFL games since then.
Gordon rejoined the Browns on Aug. 18, after being absent from the team since the start of training camp, reportedly to seek additional counseling for anxiety and mental health issues.
“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 wrote on social media when he rejoined the team.
In that day’s statement, Gordon thanked the Browns, the league, the NFL Players Association and others, and wrote: “This has by no means been an easy road and I’m extremely grateful to have all of you in my life.”
This story has been updated.
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