With a lukewarm-at-best statement from executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown and an unusual reinstatement coupled with a four-game suspension, some wonder whether the Browns will welcome receiver Josh Gordon back with open arms.
Agent Drew Rosenhaus believes they will. Appearing on Tuesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, Rosenhaus addressed the basic question of whether the Browns still want Gordon.
“I do believe the Browns are a big part of Josh getting reinstated,” Rosenhaus said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I do believe that Sashi Brown . . . had a lot to do with this. I believe that Hue Jackson is very committed to working with Josh Gordon. I believe that Jim Brown, who’s an integral part of this process who got to know Josh and has served as a mentor in some respects had a lot to do with this. I really do think that the Browns are committed to Josh and want to see him succeed.”
Rosenhaus believes that the earlier-than-expected reinstatement of Gordon arose directly from a meeting that occurred last week with Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“I believe that Commissioner Goodell really got to know Josh,” Rosenhaus said. “I’m convinced that he believed it would be in Josh’s best interests to go to training camp on time this week as opposed to waiting any longer. Being with his teammates, being with his coaches, and the Browns organization is going to put in a very good supporting system in place for Josh with counseling. They’ve got professionals that are going to work with him to support him moving forward so that he can be a successful football player and work within the system. I really believe the Commissioner wanted to give Josh this opportunity at the outset and see if Josh is able to grow from his experiences and make this transition.”
As to the conditional reinstatement combined with a four-game suspension, Rosenhaus recognizes that Goodell opted to depart from the strict language of the substance-abuse policy, which contemplates full excommunication of a player banished with the chance to apply for reinstatement.
“Commissioner Goodell made a major change in my opinion with this decision in that Josh, now during the four games that he is suspended, he can still work with the team,” Rosenhaus said. “That is a huge change from the past. . . . Commissioner Goodell is making a modification here for Josh that I think could benefit not only Josh but other players down the road because it’s very difficult when you’re on suspension as a young player. You need help and you’re basically on your own once you’re suspended. Now Josh can continue to be around his teammates, his coaches, administrators, people in the front office, and counselors from the Browns. That’s huge. They can still work with him, he can stay very close to everything that’s going on and not be on an island and I think that is a huge development and I thank Commissioner Goodell for that. I think this hopefully is a change that can be modified for certain young players going forward.”
Rosenhaus said Monday that Goodell explained the move was also aimed at building bridges with the NFL Players Association at a time when most bridges have been obliterated by a fundamental lack of trust.
For more from Rosenhaus, check out the podcast at iTunes or audioBoom.