Browns Notes: Josh Gordon enters next phase of return

Hue Jackson provides Denzel Ward, Genard Avery injury updates

Daryl Ruiter
August 24, 2018 - 4:15 pm
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon claps for his teammates warmups before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at FirstEnergy Stadium

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Browns receiver Josh Gordon will enter the “second phase” of his return plan according to head coach Hue Jackson.

Starting Saturday, Gordon will begin participating in team walk-throughs, but it is still undetermined when Gordon will practice.

“I’m going to see where we are as far as practice is concerned,” Jackson said Friday afternoon. “He’s definitely getting into the next process for us.”

Jackson will continue to evaluate Gordon, who was on the sideline for Thursday night’s 5-0 preseason win over the Eagles, daily with the goal of having him ready for Week 1 Sept. 9 agaist the Steelers. 

“How much he does will be in proportion with what I see and where he is,” Jackson said.

Gordon returned to the team on Aug. 18 following a leave of absence, which he announced on July 23 prior to the start of training camp catching many by surprise.

Since being a 2012 supplemental draft pick, Gordon has been suspended for 56 games while playing in just 40. He was conditionally reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last November and he played the final 5 games of the 2017 season following a nearly 2.5-year ban.

Injury updates – Jackson was able to provide some good news on the injury front.

Cornerback Denzel Ward suffered back spasms while trying to tackle Eagles tight end Zach Ertz early in the first quarter and the No. 4 overall pick is not expected to “miss much time.”

Jackson is high on the former Buckeye.

“I feel really good about him,” Jackson said. “Obviously he has the physical skillset that we want, and I think he’s tough. He’ll tackle, he’ll do all those things. What he’s got to be able to do is make it through 16 games.

“The thing for him will be durability.”

Linebacker Genard Avery’s hip injury will force him to miss some time, but the injury is not serious according to Jackson. Avery, a fifth round pick this year, has impressed during training camp and stood out through 3 preseason games.

“You see his tenacity. He is relentless – he is a very relentless player. I have seen that over the last couple of weeks,” Jackson said. “His first week playing was against Buffalo. He played again last night. I just see glimpses of a young player who is going to be able to help contribute to our football team in his rookie year. How much he contributes will correspond with how much he can handle as we go throughout the year. I really like the makeup of the young man.”

While Jackson isn’t sure how long Avery will be sidelined, he won’t rule out a return by Sept. 9.

“No. I am not going to say that is in doubt,” Jackson said. “What that time is, I do not have the timetable for sure. He is going to be down for a bit. The hip situation is something that we have to really make sure that we take care of, so that we do not have anything that reoccurs.”

Free safety Damarious Randall was held out of Thursday night’s game after his knee locked up during pregame warmups. Jackson said the move was purely precautionary and he does not foresee any additional problems going forward.

“Hopefully, he should be back at practice [Saturday],” Jackson said.  

Rookie receiver Antonio Callaway, who missed the previous 3 practices and Thursday night’s game due to a groin injury, is expected to return to practice this week.

Playing time TBD – Jackson has yet to decide whether he’ll play the starters next Thursday night at Detroit in the preseason finale.

“No, I have not,” Jackson said. “I have watched the tape and obviously there some things we have to clean up, for sure. But I am excited about getting them back out to practice tomorrow and see where we are. Obviously, the game is not until Thursday, so again, I reserve the right to make that decision as we get closer to the game.”

Jackson admitted the offensive starters need more work together considering the volume of injuries they’ve worked through during camp and the preseason.

“Well, I think I need to see more of it on the practice field, obviously, because we need to get that group together,” Jackson said. “Injuries have something to do with that—guys not being able to practice. So we will work through that piece and if I feel like we need more time out there in this upcoming game, we will do so, if need be.”