July 24, 2018 / 2:30 AM / a year ago

NFL notebook: Browns WR Gordon absent as camp begins

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was absent at the start of training camp, but assured fans in a statement he has “every intention of being ready and available to join my teammates soon.”

FILE PHOTO: Dec 10, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) celebrates his touchdown reception against the Green Bay Packers during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Network and ESPN reported there is no truth to rumblings Gordon could be facing another suspension, and ESPN said his absence was directly related to a “health and treatment” counseling plan. Adam Schefter reported the proactive move was intended to address mental health and anxiety.

However, the NFL released a statement that casts doubt on the reasons for Gordon’s absence. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy released the following on Gordon: “No timetable. We’ll address the matter at the appropriate time.”

There is no exact timetable mentioned by Gordon, who has been suspended multiple times by the NFL for positive drug tests. Gordon was placed on the non-football illness reserve list, Browns general manager John Dorsey announced. Gordon signed a one-year exclusive rights free agent contract for the 2018 season worth $790,000.

—Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. plans to report on time when veterans take physicals to open training camp with the New York Giants on Wednesday.

According to NFL Network, Beckham dismissed a potential holdout as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. The 25-year-old was limited for much of the offseason recovering from ankle surgery.

Recent contracts for wide receivers, including Beckham’s college teammate Jarvis Landry (five years, $75.5 million) and Brandin Cooks ($80 million) are likely to set the market for Beckham. Beckham said in June during mandatory minicamp that he would not be a holdout.

—Running back LeSean McCoy will report to Buffalo Bills training camp Wednesday as investigators continue to look into an alleged home invasion that a former girlfriend blamed on him, according to multiple reports.

The woman, Delicia Cordon, said she was assaulted and robbed while she slept on July 10 in an Atlanta-area home owned by McCoy. Police said Cordon told them she thought McCoy had “something to do with” the alleged assault, which put her in the hospital.

He has not been named as a suspect, and the league has not taken any action against McCoy, according to reports. On social media, McCoy denied the accusation and said he had not had “direct contact with any of the people involved in months.” Depending on the NFL’s investigation into the matter, McCoy, 30, could be subject to discipline under the league’s personal-conduct policy, even if he does not face legal consequences.

—Randy Gregory will be allowed to begin Dallas Cowboys training camp without restrictions after the formerly suspended defensive end was fully cleared and reinstated by the NFL, according to multiple reports.

Gregory, whom the league conditionally reinstated last week, may rejoin Dallas at training camp and take part in all meetings and conditioning sessions, per the league’s “fully cleared” status under the substance-abuse policy.

Gregory was suspended at least one year without pay in January 2017, his third time violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. That came after a pair of suspensions kept him off the field for 14 games during the 2016 season.

—Veteran outside linebacker Connor Barwin announced that he has reached a deal to play for the New York Giants.

Barwin, 31, announced the news on his Twitter account. According to NFL Network, Barwin’s deal will be worth $5 million over two years. He spent last year with the Los Angeles Rams on a one-year, $3.5 million deal.

Barwin has recorded 55.5 career sacks in 127 games (109 starts) over parts of nine seasons. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2014 after posting a career-best 14.5 sacks for the Philadelphia Eagles. Barwin spent his first four seasons with the Houston Texans before joining the Eagles in 2013. After four seasons in Philadelphia, he had 5.0 sacks in 14 games (13 starts) for the Rams last year.

—New England Patriots wideout Malcolm Mitchell’s future with the team is in doubt after he had a knee procedure, and the team is shopping him in trade talks, according to multiple reports.

The Providence Journal reported Mitchell — who missed all of 2017 but one preseason game with a knee injury — faces “an uphill climb” to play at all in 2018 after Monday’s procedure. Multiple outlets confirmed Mitchell, who turned 26 on Friday, had a procedure as part of an evaluation with doctors to determine the cause of discomfort in his knee.

Multiple outlets reported the Patriots are shopping Mitchell, whose path to a roster spot looks cloudy, even with Julian Edelman’s four-game suspension to start the season. Through two years in the NFL, Mitchell has played in 14 games (six starts), all in 2016, catching 32 passes for 401 yards and four scores.

—Denver Broncos linebacker Shane Ray opted for rehab on his injured wrist and should be ready for Week 1.

Ray shot down a report by The Athletic in June that he had a clean-up surgery on his chronically injured wrist, which required three prior surgeries. The Athletic report claimed Ray would miss three months.

9Sports in Denver reported that when Ray visited a specialist in Houston, he was presented with a non-surgical option. However, Ray, in a contract year, said he plans to take part in training camp practices and be on the field when the regular season begins.

—David Johnson tweeted a photo of himself holding a helmet with the hashtag ImBack, and the Arizona Cardinals confirmed the All-Pro running back would be at training camp when it opens Friday.

Johnson, in the final year of his rookie contract, skipped mandatory minicamp in June angling for a new deal. He missed the final 15 games of the 2017 season with a fractured left wrist.

It is expected Johnson and the club will reach an agreement on a new contract for the 2015 third-round pick, even with general manager Steve Keim suspended. Johnson is set to earn $1.905 million in 2018.

—Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano died from arteriosclerotic heart disease, the Hennepin County (Minn.) medical examiner’s office announced.

Sparano was found dead at his home in Eden Prairie on Sunday morning by his wife. He was 56 years old. Sparano died at 8:54 a.m. on Sunday, shortly before he and his wife, Jeanette, were going to head to church. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Sparano had gone to the hospital complaining of chest pains on Thursday and was released on Friday.

Sparano, the former Miami Dolphins head coach, joined the Vikings in 2016. He went 32-41 in parts of five seasons as an NFL head coach.

—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not feature a portrait of Jameis Winston outside of Raymond James Stadium for the first time since he was a rookie, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Per the Times, the Bucs have decided to exclude the quarterback — who received a three-game suspension last month for inappropriately touching an Uber driver in a 2016 incident — from their marketing promotions, including player murals on the four corners of their stadium.

Winston had his portrait on the stadium in each of the last two years, and he was a team captain in both years. However, the team appears to be distancing itself from the QB’s image at the moment. Winston, 24, did not appear in four promotional videos released by the Bucs last week.

—Field Level Media

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