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Training Camp

Browns voice support for Josh Gordon through leave of absence

The Browns want Josh Gordon to be the best version of himself both on and off the field. 

It's why head coach Hue Jackson and general manager John Dorsey said they'll respect the gifted wide receiver's leave of absence with training camp set to open Thursday.  

"I think he's done everything we've asked him to do," Jackson said Wednesday in a news conference previewing camp. "He's doing everything he can to prevent future issues … I think this is a young man who's putting himself in position to be better for himself and for his football team."

"I think the best thing for Josh and his well-being is to be where he is," Dorsey added.

Gordon announced Monday he won't be in attendance for the start of camp as part of an "overall health and treatment plan" following a public struggle with addiction. While the Browns "absolutely" expect Gordon to return at some point, it's unclear when that might happen.

Gordon, 27, returned to the field late last season following a three-year suspension for multiple violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy. In five games, he flashed the talent that made him one of the league's most-electric players and is expected to play a major role on Cleveland's new-and-improved offense. 

Citing a desire to remain on a positive path, Gordon believes that "by continuing to follow the plan set up by our medical director and his team and taking this time before this season starts, we believe it will help me maintain the progress I've made for not only today but for many years to come." He added: "I am excited to start the season and I have every intention of being ready and available to join my teammates soon to help bring winning football to our fans."

Dorsey said the Browns will designate Gordon as a "did not report" player in order to free up a roster spot for camp. They'll also evaluate whether signing a free agent, such as former Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant, makes sense in the meantime. 

Cleveland's leadership expressed empathy for Gordon and made clear they'll support him through his absence. 

"We'd like to have all of our players here, but we do know things come up," Jackson said. "You're talking about a young man who's doing everything he can to be put in the best position in his life … When Josh is ready to return, he'll return."

"I made a statement back in the winter where if Josh was 100 percent committed to the Cleveland Browns, the Cleveland Browns are 100 percent committed to him," added Dorsey. "He had a great offseason, let's just see what happens here … All I care about is, let's respect his privacy, and let's move forward."

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