Josh Gordon has returned to the Cleveland Browns, but that doesn’t make him a starter.
Head coach Hue Jackson went well out of his way to state Gordon, who missed Monday’s practice with a hamstring injury, will not start Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Gordon left the team prior to the start of training camp and entered a treatment program at the University of Florida. He said the visit was more a “mental break” than anything else.
Of course, the Browns know Gordon has struggled with substance abuse. General manager John Dorsey warned in July that the Browns would not get into discussing timetables with Gordon until he’s on the field when it matters.
“I know I’m going to be here playing football, and anything outside of these walls, I think I have the right people in place to help me in any way in which I need them to help me,’’ Gordon said Monday in his first interview since leaving the team.
Gordon, 27, had 18 catches for 335 yards and a touchdown in five games last season, his first action since 2014 after serving multiple suspensions for violating the league’s drug policy. He has missed 56 of a possible 96 games in his career due to suspension.
Dorsey made the wide receiver position a priority in the offseason, trading for Jarvis Landry — later signed to a five-year, $75 million contract — and drafting Antonio Callaway in the fourth round.
Callaway and Gordon are expected to share time as the “X” receiver in new offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s scheme.
Gordon said Monday that Cleveland is right where he needs to be.
“As it relates to football, I’m doing well,’’ he reiterated. “I’m glad I was able to have the opportunity and it’s good to be here and I feel ... I feel grateful for the opportunity to have the chance to come back out here and be with my teammates and enjoy this beautiful atmosphere.”
—Field Level Media