The Browns didn’t draft a replacement for the potentially suspended Josh Gordon, and owner Jimmy Haslam offered a show of support for his troubled star.
“Josh is learning and growing and improving as a person,” Haslam said during a speech, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He’s learning how to work hard. He’s learning how to be a professional. Josh is a smart young man. All of us have made mistakes when we were that age. We’re counting on Josh being a good football player for the Browns for a long time to come.
“We spend a lot of time with all of our core players and Josh is obviously one of those. We have all spent a lot of time talking to Josh and I’m not going to comment on the situation but I’ll say this, but I’ve been very pleased with his professional growth over the last year and the way he handles himself.”
Reports emerged last weekend of a recent failed marijuana test, which could lead to a year’s suspension, and though they knew about it going into the draft, General Manager Ray Farmer didn’t tap into a deep class.
“We’re confident we have a plan,” coach Mike Pettine said. “The situation didn’t call for panic. That’s something we weren’t going to do. I agree with Ray 1,000 percent that we have to build this team so that no one player drives the ship. …losing players for extended periods of time potentially is part of the game. Successful franchises are the ones that have enough depth built and enough options that they have from scheme-wise, coaching-wise to account for it.”
We’ll see if the Browns can overcome it, but the decision to bypass Sammy Watkins when they knew they’d likely be without Gordon is one that could haunt them.