CLEVELAND — When Browns coach Hue Jackson sat down with Josh Gordon, he noticed something different about the embattled wide receiver.
Jackson, who met Gordon on Tuesday after he was reinstated on a conditional basis last week, said he appeared refocused and ready to move forward after a long hiatus from the field.
"I saw a young man who was a lot more mature, who understood exactly where he is and what he was trying to accomplish and do," Jackson said Wednesday. "We touched several different subjects and 'll keep that between me and him, but I was very pleased with where Josh was. I mean, he looks in tremendous shape and there's a different look in his eye."
Gordon, who reunited with the Browns this week for the first time in more than a year, hasn't played in a regular season game since 2014 because of multiple violations of the league's substance abuse policy and a public struggle with addiction.
Nonetheless, the former Pro Bowler could potentially give winless Cleveland a big boost next month (he can return to the active roster as early as Nov. 27) and revive a promising career put on hold.
Gordon, a supplemental draft pick in 2012, led the league in receiving in 2013 and established himself as one of the NFL's top pass-catchers before a string of suspensions and off-field mishaps.
Gordon, who spoke of accountability, transparency and growth off the field, stressed he'll lean on a support system in and outside of Berea if he's to resume a promising career put on hold. Jackson echoed that sentiment, saying the Browns will do whatever they can to support the former Pro Bowler.
"I mean, it starts with him. He is a grown man and so, we're going to treat him that way, but we're going to do everything we can to support him," Jackson said.
"He knows my phone is on 24-7 and that is not just with him, with all of our players. I just think that's one of the huge keys. If you know that somebody is going to be there for you and going to help you through whatever, you have a chance of making it. We wish the best for him and we want him to make it."
To be certain, the Browns and Gordon have been through a similar situation before. After being conditionally reinstated two summers ago, Gordon checked into an inpatient rehabilitation facility in September 2016 days before he was due to return to action.
Because of that, there's a certain onus on Gordon to do everything in his power to stay on a positive path and recoup Cleveland's trust.
"I think you earn it every day, but I think we have to give him the opportunity to earn it, too," Jackson said.
"It's a two-way street. We also have to earn his trust and him sharing with us the things he has been through. I think it goes both ways and I think he gets that, but again, I think over time it will show itself where we are, but we're going to support him and we're going to give him every opportunity to do the things that he needs to do to be a part of this football team."