Browns: Gamble on Gordon pays dividends
Josh Gordon’s speed has allowed Cleveland to stretch defenses and open up short passes and running lanes.
Josh Gordon arrived at training camp out of shape, unfamiliar with the Browns’ playbook and saddled with personal baggage from a troubled college career.
Another lost rookie, Gordon was way behind.
He has caught up.
“He’s our top receiver right now,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said.
With a long, elegant stride and deceiving speed, Gordon, 21, has emerged as Cleveland’s biggest deep threat, perhaps the club’s best playmaker and maybe the end of the Browns’ search for a bona fide No. 1 wide receiver, something they haven’t had in years.
Gordon, blessed with enormous talent, is the whole package.
Gordon had the best game of his brief career last Sunday, catching six passes for 116 yards and a touchdown in a 20-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders. It was a breakout performance for Gordon, who was taken in the second round of the NFL’s supplemental draft in July by the Browns, who were criticized for a selection many considered too risky.
Gordon, though, has made general manager Tom Heckert’s gamble pay dividends.
Gordon has five touchdowns this season, the most by a Browns rookie since Andre’ Davis in 2002.
“He’s starting to get a feel for what he can do,” Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “The sky is the limit for that guy.”
He came with questions surrounding his character. Gordon was dismissed from Baylor’s team after being suspended twice for marijuana use. He hasn’t had any problems as a pro, and that’s how Gordon intends to keep it.
Although other teams passed on Gordon, the Browns dared to look deeper and took a chance on him.
He doesn’t want to let them down.
“It meant a lot to me,” Gordon said. “I never will forget it and I’m always grateful for it. I think about it every day and it’s why I have the attitude I have. I don’t want to take anything for granted and keep going as hard as I can.”
Hillis fires back
Kansas City Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis lashed back at former teammate Joe Thomas yesterday, comparing the Browns offensive tackle to a “crazy ex-girlfriend” after Thomas made disparaging comments about Hillis.
Thomas told reporters in Cleveland on Wednesday that Hillis didn’t always play hard and accused Hillis of creating a “toxic” environment in the locker room by putting his contract situation ahead of the team.
“Joe Thomas, he can have his opinions all he wants,” Hillis said. “It’s kind of like a crazy ex-girlfriend, you know? It’s been over a year. Get over it. But I don’t know. I guess when you get paid over $100 million by one team, it’s kind of easy to point the finger at another guy and hate on him for trying to get another contract.”