The Browns might not have wide receiver Josh Gordon for part or all of the 2014 season, but that doesn’t mean the club will be severing his employment.
Head coach Mike Pettine told the Akron Beacon Journal the club doesn’t intend to release Gordon, who was arrested on a DWI charge in early July. The 23-year-old Pro Bowl wide receiver, under contract for two more seasons, was already facing a potential suspension under the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
“Josh is a Cleveland Brown. We want to do what’s best for him,” Pettine told the Beacon Journal‘s Nate Ulrich in a story published Monday. “We have a player that potentially needs help. Whether it’s him or whether it’s anybody else that wears the uniform, if we can help, we’ll help. We want to make our decisions always, what’s best for the player, and you try to marry it with what’s best for the team.
“So that’s why I don’t think that cutting him, while it may have worked for some other people, I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best option here. It might be the worst option for both — for us and for him. We’re going to wait and see what happens and then act accordingly.”
Pettine told the Beacon Journal the club expects some clarity on Gordon’s disciplinary status in the next two weeks. The wide receiver reportedly could be in line for a yearlong ban.
“I’ve heard everything, all the possibilities, so it’s just gotten to the point where it is what it is. We’ve planned for everything, and we’re ready to go,” the Browns’ head coach told the newspaper.
In the short term, the Browns would count on Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin, Nate Burleson and Travis Benjamin, among others, to pick up the slack if Gordon were ruled out for an extended stretch.
In the longer term, though, an ideal Cleveland offense would have Gordon as the go-to target for a clear-cut starting quarterback. But those are just hopes for now.