josh gordon-cleveland browns

After multiple suspensions and years of the off-the-field issues with substance abuse, it’s not surprising the Cleveland Browns are finally parting ways with wide receiver Josh Gordon. But the timing of the decision to get rid of the highly talented 27-year-old is odd, and the details are pretty vague.

The Browns released a statement on Saturday evening from general manager John Dorsey on the decision. Dorsey said that the Browns “are going to release [Gordon] on Monday.”

“This afternoon we informed Josh Gordon and his representatives that we are going to release him on Monday. For the past six years, the Browns have fully supported and invested in Josh, both personally and professionally, and wanted the best for him, but unfortunately we’ve reached a point where we feel it’s best to part ways and move forward. We wish Josh well.”

However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that it’s more likely the Browns *trade* Gordon.

Initially, reports were simply that Gordon didn’t report to the team facility on time Saturday morning.

And the natural reaction to that is, “Wait, the Browns put up with all of these suspension and issues with Gordon, and are going to now release him for being late to one practice?”

As assumed, there appears to be more to the story.

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.Com reports that, according to league sources, Gordon “was not himself” when he showed up late to the Browns’ facility,  and “there was concern that perhaps he was struggling again with his sobriety or on the verge of relapsing.”

The Browns are finally parting ways with troubled receiver Josh Gordon after he showed up late to the facility on Saturday morning and was “not himself,” league sources told cleveland.com.

They’re releasing him on Monday and finally closing the book on the long saga of substance abuse, suspensions, multiple chances and redemption.

Team doctors examined him, and in addition to the tweaked hamstring, there was concern that perhaps he was struggling again with his sobriety or on the verge of relapsing, sources said.

In that excerpt, Cabot mentions a “tweaked hamstring” for Gordon. And according to Schefter, Gordon injured that hamstring at a “promotional shoot.”

While this could’ve been an accidental thing that could happen to anyone in day-to-day life, teams especially don’t like it when injuries happen at non-football activities, so it’s possible this injury played into things with the decision (or, at least didn’t help things for Gordon’s Cleveland future).

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen adds that “trust and other mitigating factors were cited” in Cleveland’s decision to part ways with Gordon.

Gordon has been an elite NFL wide receiver when he’s been able to actually play, and had an absurd 1,646 receiving yards in 14 games with the Browns in 2013. However, that’s the last time he played over five games in a season, and he missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons due to suspension, before playing five games in 2017.

A team will likely take a chance on trading for Gordon, but the talk of a potential relapse is very concerning- both to inquiring teams and more importantly, for Gordon’s well being, of course. Maybe a change of scenery and a new start could help.

There’s surely more to come on this story in the coming days, and more specific details will likely emerge.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.