Josh Gordon, the Browns' second-round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft who had 50 receptions for 805 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, will begin the 2013 season on the bench. In early June, he was suspended two games and fined four game checks for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
Speaking with the media Monday for the first time since the suspension, Gordon explained that his off-field issues are behind him.
“My priorities are definitely in order, definitely in line,” Gordon said via the Akron Beacon Journal. “I still got a job to come out here and do every day. I've got to be accountable and be a grown man, help provide for me and my family. So I do definitely have my priorities in order.”
When questioned by reporters about his suspension, Gordon referred to the statement he issued on the matter last month. Basically, he was diagnosed with strep throat in February, doctors prescribed antibiotics and cough medicine, and the medication apparently contained codeine, which is banned by the NFL.
Gordon admitted last summer to three failed drug tests (for marijuana) in college -- two at Baylor and another at Utah -- and an ESPN story in late June suggested that Gordon might be running with the wrong crowd.
Still, the 22-year-old says he understands that he must earn the respect of his coaches, teammates and the fans.
“I need to apologize to the team, Browns fans, the coaching staff here, my family and friends,” Gordon said. “There's a lot of people dealing with it, but I'm definitely planning to move on from it. ...
“It's something that's in the past,” he continued. “It's still going to gloom over me for a long time. But I've still got a long way to go, a lot to prove to the fans here, to the people here. It's just another obstacle in my way of getting there.”
Meanwhile, first-year coach Rob Chudzinski expects Gordon to be a big part of the Browns' offense.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed in the situation," Chudzinski said. "It's important that Josh understands what my expectations are. I've talked to him about that. He understands accountability, and I expect him to work and do everything he can to be the very best player he can be in the meantime, and we'll go from there."
"He's a mature guy," Weeden said of Gordon. "He knows he made a mistake. But I'm not going to beat a dead horse. There's no reason for me to harp on it. I just told him this team needs him and pretty much left it at that. He knows that. He'll be excited come Week 3. I don't mean to put words in his mouth, but he'll learn from his mistake."