Wide receiver Josh Gordon said he was “almost in disbelief” when he heard the news and said it was a lesson to him and other young members of the Browns about the business side of life in the NFL. Safety T.J. Ward described his reaction as “shock,” but said that the team has to keep their focus on football. Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson sent the same message about the trade of a player he thought was going to be “the face of the organization.”
“This is the week to go out and show the character of the guys in this locker room,” Jackson said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “The ship is still sailing.”
For young players like Gordon, Ward and wide receiver Greg Little, the trade is also a message that being drafted early isn’t going to guarantee them a spot on the roster now that there are new people making decisions in the front office. If that leads to more inspired performances, it should pay off for them whether they remain in Cleveland or head elsewhere.