Josh Gordon could face off against a friend and former teammate this weekend.
As the Browns prepare for their season finale against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, the wide receiver is expecting cornerback and former Cleveland standout Joe Haden to shadow his every move. While it's unclear whether the Steelers — who've already clinched a first-round playoff bye— will play their starters Sunday, Gordon is looking forward to the possibility of that matchup.
"It'd be awesome to see him and play against him," Gordon said Thursday.
Gordon and Haden, who signed with the Steelers after the Browns released him in September, were teammates for three seasons (2012-15) before Gordon was suspended indefinitely for multiple violations of the league's substance abuse policy. The pair were also among the team's Pro Bowl representatives in 2013.
During that span, Gordon said Haden — a two-time Pro Bowler and the team's first-round NFL Draft pick in 2009 — helped him develop into one of the league's most electrifying players.
"My first couple years here, he helped bring me along and we helped each other grow I think as players more than anything just on the practice field," he said, "figuring out as a younger player how to develop myself when it came to the practice field, the amount of effort it's going to take to get open on a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback. He gave me the best look at practice that I've ever seen."
Haden, who recently returned to action after missing seven games with a broken leg, has an interception, a sack and 18 tackles. Most recently, he helped hold Texans star receiver DeAndre Hopkins to four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown.
Gordon, who has 14 catches for 220 yards and a touchdown in four games since being reinstated last month, expects to get the best from Haden.
"He's still Joe. Joe's athletic, explosive. Just one of the most energetic defensive backs in the league," he said. "You're going to get the best of Joe any day … if he's playing, I expect him at his best."