Cleveland Browns Not Surprised By Wide Receiver Josh Gordon's Leave Of Absence

Josh Gordon is taking a leave of absence from the Cleveland Browns

Tiki and Tierney
October 30, 2018 - 10:15 am

USA Today Images

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon announced Monday that he would not be available for the start of training camp.

Were the Browns surprised? Stunned?

No, and no.

“I certainly don’t think they could have been stunned,” Cleveland.com Browns reporter Mary Kay Cabot said on Tiki and Tierney. “I had been hearing rumors for about a month that he was about to exit the team for something. There were rumors about Josh Gordon. I had made several phone calls to the team about this, and I know other people did as well. So there’s no way this could have taken the club by surprise. They knew full well that something was going on. Anybody associated with the Browns or Josh Gordon knew there was something afoot. None of us were surprised yesterday when this came down. I think the only surprise was that he wasn’t suspended. . . . He needed to take some time to work on his mental health, probably as it relates to his recovery.”

Cabot has covered Gordon’s enter Cleveland career, which began in 2012.

“I think the thing that strikes me or anybody anytime they have conversions with John Gordon is how thoughtful, how deep, how smart, how wise he is,” Cabot said. “He is so intelligent and amazing to talk to. I found him that way from the very first time I spoke with him in 2012. He was wise beyond his years even back then. He’s somewhat of an old soul. So I think people have a misconception about the kind of guy he really is. He’s very passionate, very deep, he feels everything, he’s very sensitive – very sensitive guy.”

That has led to problems for Gordon in the past. It may be leading to problems now as well.

“He has a lot of trouble coping with his feelings – and his coping mechanisms dating all the way back to high school – have been to use substances,” Cabot said. “This is a difficult time of year for him. It’s always a difficult time of year for him. When the pressure of the season starts to hit, it almost becomes too much for him. It’s happened so many times, and it starts to get to him.”

Gordon caught 18 passes for 335 yards and one touchdown in five games last season – his first action since 2014. As of now, he leaves Tyrod Taylor – or is it Baker Mayfield? – without his top weapon.

“Well I think Hue Jackson is very committed to Tyrod Taylor as his starter,” Cabot said. “He wants to go into the season with his veteran starting quarterback, and that is Tyrod Taylor. He has declared him the starting quarterback, and I think most people really don’t want to believe that because they’ve got a No. 1 overall pick in Baker Mayfield and everyone has seen him play. You’ve seen him win the Heisman, you’ve seen him go No. 1 overall, and it’s really hard to believe that they’re just going to really not give him a bonafide opportunity to go out and win that job. 

“But I think they recognize that he needs time,” Cabot continued. “They don’t want a rookie out there learning on the job right now. There’s been too much losing for the fan base, for the coaching staff, for the ownership. They want to win some football games, and they want a quarterback that knows what he’s seeing and what he’s doing.”

While Mayfield won the Heisman last year, Taylor helped the Bills to their first playoff appearance since 1999. Both want to continue with their success. But Taylor, with seven years of NFL experience, has a clear advantage.

“He really hasn’t been in a pro-style offense,” Cabot said of Mayfield. “He’s still learning how to play under center. He’s still learning all the things that you have to do at that position, and I do think it’s wise the way that they’re handling it and not turning it into an open quarterback competition in camp. But I will say this about Baker Mayfield: he’s never taken no for an answer in his life – and I don’t think he’s going to start now.”