Browns Rumors

Corey Coleman Displeased With HBO

Browns wide receivers have been perhaps the most discussed position group in the NFL this month, with Josh Gordon, Dez Bryant and Corey Coleman commandeering news cycles. The most talented of these players is on his way to being ready for the regular season. While Gordon has not resumed practicing with the Browns since returning to Berea, Ohio, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com believes his treatment program was geared around getting ready for the regular season. While it’s possible Gordon will miss the entire preseason slate, Cabot sees the seventh-year pass-catcher not only being ready to play in Week 1 but starting alongside Jarvis Landry against the Steelers on Sept. 9. Hue Jackson also is of the belief his embattled playmaker will be out there in Week 1. Although, it’s not out of the question the NFL could have some say in Gordon’s return.

  • The Browns’ Bryant interest was genuine, per Cabot, and not a protection against another prolonged Gordon absence. As was the case when he turned down the Ravens’ three-year offer this spring, Bryant wants a one-year deal that will help him return to free agency in a better spot than he was when the Cowboys cut him. Cabot adds both sides were impressed during Bryant’s visit, but Bryant’s price tag was probably too high for the Browns. Though, Cleveland obviously could afford to sign Bryant to whatever one-year deal he wants due to its league-leading amount of cap space. The Browns are going to continue to examine the receiver market, via trade or free agency, per Cabot.
  • Coleman was not happy with how Hard Knocks handled the sequences that led him being shipped to the Bills. The HBO show only showed the third-year receiver’s frustration in Jackson’s office, and sort-of-serious trade request, and a series of drops or other on-field work Browns coaches deemed unsatisfactory. No discussions about what went into the team’s trade decision were shown, which irked the new Buffalo resident. “With all of that, I’m going to take the high road,” Coleman said after Friday night’s Bills-Browns game (via the Buffalo News). “You all can see for yourself how all that stuff worked out. I just laugh at it because it’s kind of funny. They should have shown the whole thing if they were going to show it.”

Browns Hope Josh Gordon Will Be Ready For Week 1

After Josh Gordon‘s much-anticipated return to the Browns yesterday, Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson expressed his hope that Gordon will be ready to go when the team opens up the regular season against the division-rival Steelers on September 9. Jackson said, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, “There’s a chance. Obviously, we’re just going to take it one step at a time. His focus is going to be on meetings and conditioning, and then we’ll just kind of go from there. Hopefully, we can get him up and running by the first game.”

As we learned yesterday, Gordon was placed on the active/non-football injury list, which means that he can start practicing as soon as the Browns’ medical team gives him the green light. Until that happens, he can attend meetings and conditioning sessions, but if he is going to play in Week 1, he obviously needs to return to the practice field as soon as possible (though Jackson expressed his belief that Gordon developed sufficient chemistry and understanding of the offense in OTAs and minicamp).

Interestingly, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes that the league has plenty of say as to when Gordon will make a full return. He writes that, while many reporters have “parroted” the notion that the process has been controlled by a proactive Gordon, this tweet from Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, which quotes NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, suggests otherwise. The tweet says that, since Gordon is still in the league’s substance abuse program, he needs to meet certain conditions before playing, and then it quotes McCarthy as saying, “this [is} part of the process. Can attend meeting, do conditioning. Can go to practice, but not participate. No timetable on next step.”

Florio says it’s clear that Gordon’s ability to practice and to play will be subject to league approval, which means that something happened during Gordon’s treatment plan that triggered his absence in the first place. If Gordon truly did keep himself out of training camp, Florio says he would have been instantly reinstated with no restrictions of any kind upon his return.

The way this situation has played out not only suggests that the league has been directly involved, per Florio, but that the NFL is also realizing that overly-aggressive application of its substance abuse policy is not helpful to either the player or the league. Instead, it appears that the NFL has opted to work with Gordon in this case instead of running him out of the league — another misstep on Gordon’s part would result in at least another year-long suspension — which jibes with a piece from Tony Grossi of ESPN 850 WKNR, who says that commissioner Roger Goodell has been sympathetic to Gordon since the two men had a face-to-face meeting last November.

Grossi also opines that, since the Browns have finally upgraded their receiving corps, Gordon may need the team more than the team needs him for the first time in their tumultuous history together, which may be the motivation he needs to stay on the right track.

Jackson, though, made no guarantees that Gordon is back for good. He said, “I’m confident that he’s here. That’s the most important part. How long he stays, only Josh knows that, but he’s in a much better place. I think all those things, as you guys know, are always fluid. That’s always a concern, but at the same time, we’re here to support, help and try to create the right environments for Josh.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns, Dez Bryant Not Close On Contract

Now that Josh Gordon has appeared at Browns training camp, Dez Bryant is “no longer on the front burner” in Cleveland, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, who adds the Browns and Bryant did not come close to reaching a contract agreement during the Bryant’s recent visit. While the Browns will keep tabs on Bryant, they’re not expected to sign him in the near future.

The Browns are searching for help at wideout after trading former first-round pick Corey Coleman to the Bills last week, and while Bryant wasn’t initially returning general manager John Dorsey‘s phone calls, the veteran pass-catcher finally agreed to come in for a meeting. Speaking on a conference call earlier today, Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson said Gordon’s presence at camp wouldn’t affect the club’s plans with Bryant (but Cabot’s sources say that isn’t the case).

“No, I think one has nothing to do with the other in my opinion,” Jackson said. “Again, things will unfold as they will. The most important thing we know is that Josh is here, and again, we’ve had a good conversation with Dez and until he’s a Cleveland Brown, I can only worry about the guys that are on this football team.”

Bryant, 29, is reportedly looking for a one-year, “prove-it” deal and wants to play for a contending club. Whether the Browns will fulfill the latter requirement in 2018 is unclear, but Bryant could conceivably wait until a wide receiver injury elsewhere opens a roster spot.

While a number of teams have been tangentially linked to Bryant since he was released by the Cowboys, no clubs aside from the Ravens and Browns have been directly interested in the former first-round pick. In fact, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com has reported many teams are unwilling to consider Bryant even at the minimum salary.

Gordon, for his part, is currently not allowed to practice after the Browns placed him on the non-football injury list earlier today. However, Jackson did allow Gordon could be available for Cleveland’s regular season opener on September 9.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/18/18

Today’s minor moves:

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Signed: LB Kyle Coleman

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Signed: WR Darius Prince
  • Waived: DT Adam Reth

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

WR Josh Gordon Returns To Browns

Josh Gordon is back. The wideout announced this morning (via Twitter) that he’d be returning to the Browns. Gordon had been absent from training camp and the Browns’ first two preseason games as he worked on his mental and physical health.

“…I would like to thank the NFL, NFLPA, the entire Cleveland Browns organization, the University of Florida, and my friend and business manager Michael Johnson Jr for playing such pivotal roles during this process,” Gordon said. “This has by no means been an easy road and I’m extremely grateful to have all of you in my life.”

“As I humbly return to being a member of this team with an opportunity to get back to playing this game I love, I realize in order for me to reach my full potential my primary focus must remain on my sobriety and mental well-being.”

Gordon had announced back in June that he wouldn’t be attending the early part of preseason as he focused on his treatment program. However, there wasn’t a definitive return date, and the team subsequently placed the receiver on the non-football injury. Gordon, who has had substance abuse issues throughout his career, didn’t sit out due to a failed drug test, and he isn’t expected to be suspended. The team seemed to echo that sentiment in a statement.

“First off, we are pleased for Josh. His overall health and well-being is what is most important. We commend Josh for his hard work, commitment and focus on becoming the best version of himself,” said general manager John Dorsey (via Patrick Maks of ClevelandBrowns.com).

“We are glad Josh has reached a point where he can return to our organization, be in our building and be around his teammates. As he assimilates back to our team, Josh will initially participate in meetings and conditioning and will gradually resume all football activities as deemed appropriate.”

While it may take Gordon a while to get into shape, he’ll surely slide atop the Browns’ depth chart when he’s ready to go. The 27-year-old has only played in 10 games since 2014, but he was productive following his return to the Browns last season. In five games (five starts), Gordon hauled in 18 receptions for 335 yards and one touchdown. The receiver’s best season came in 2013, when he compiled 87 catches for 1,646 yards and nine scores.

After trading former first-rounder Corey Coleman earlier this month, the Browns receiver depth is questionable behind offseason addition Jarvis Landry. If Gordon ends up missing any regular season time, the Browns will have to turn to two of Antonio CallawayRashard Higgins, Jeff Janis, and Damion Ratley for starting gigs. Free agent wideout Dez Bryant was recently discussing a deal with the Browns, and it’s uncertain if Gordon’s return will impact negotiations.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

A.J. McCarron Fractures Collarbone

A.J. McCarron suffered an injury during his first preseason start with the Bills, and it appears likely it will affect the franchise’s quarterback plans going forward. The free agent addition suffered a hairline fracture in his collarbone, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News reports (on Twitter).

McCarron started over Nathan Peterman on Friday night in Cleveland but may have to cede the reins to the younger passer now. Peterman started the Bills’ first preseason game, but McCarron represents the bigger investment, having signed a two-year, $8.1MM deal this offseason. He was viewed as the stopgap quarterback that will provide the bridge to Josh Allen.

Allen figures to see more time as a result of McCarron’s setback, and although the Wyoming product was not viewed as a ready-made NFL signal-caller, his NFL audition could come sooner than previously expected if McCarron misses extensive time.

McCarron’s only relevant NFL work came because of a 2015 Andy Dalton injury, and after a trade to the Browns fell through at the last minute last year, a setback in Cleveland ten months later may deny him a chance at a surefire starting role. Peterman has one game of NFL starting experience, but that start turned out to be one of the worst in NFL history. But he may be the next man up.

Dez Bryant Discussing Deal With Browns

It sounds like Dez Bryant‘s Browns visit on Thursday went well. The wide receiver and his agent stayed in Cleveland to discuss a potential deal with the team on Friday, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes. 

[Poll: Should The Browns Sign Dez Bryant?]

A league source tells Cabot that a deal is not expected to be signed right away, but Bryant’s extending stay is a promising sign. Bryant also sounded upbeat when making an appearance on the Browns’ in-house radio program.

I’m happy to be here, you know excited, you know just trying to work out some things,” said Bryant, adding that the team’s facility is “a lovely place.”

Bryant avoided the Browns’ phone calls for a while, but he had a change of heart after watching the first episode of Hard Knocks this season. The wide receiver said that Jarvis Landry‘s speech about toughness and no days off inspired him to come to Cleveland and take a closer look at the team. Bryant, presumably, is eager to play for a winner, and he has reason to believe that the Browns can win despite their combined record of 1-31 over the last two seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Corey Coleman Requested Trade

Browns’ Josh Gordon Did Not Fail Drug Test

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon did not fail a drug test this offseason, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports. There were previous rumblings that Gordon did not directly violate the league’s substance abuse policy, but this is the first confirmation that we have heard. 

Because Gordon didn’t fail a test, no suspension is anticipated once he returns. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be in uniform for Week 1. Gordon is still in Florida as he works on his mental and physical health, Cabot writes, so he’ll need the go-ahead from his NFL-sanctioned medical team before getting back to football.

Still, the Browns remain optimistic about Gordon’s future and they plan to stick with him as he works towards a full recovery. The club is keeping in contact with Gordon, but at the same time, they’re considering Dez Bryant as insurance.

Over the course of his up-and-down career, Gordon has appeared in 40 games and recorded 179 receptions for 3,089 yards and 15 touchdowns. In 2013, he led the league with 1,646 receiving yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.