CLEVELAND — Browns coach Hue Jackson said it would be "like Christmas" when wide receiver Josh Gordon returned to the practice field.
Jackson and Cleveland received an early present Wednesday afternoon as Gordon suited up for a regular-season practice for the first time since December 2014.
"He's just a different talent," head coach Hue Jackson said with a wide smile. "He's what I thought he was."
Gordon, who was conditionally reinstated earlier this month by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, can play as early as Dec. 3 against the Chargers in Los Angeles. Wednesday's practice, of course, marked another step in that direction, as both he and the Browns hope he can provide a jolt to a young team in need of playmakers.
"He's big, he's fast he's athletic, strong, strong hands and he can run. That's exciting," Jackson said. "Josh is a different talent and his teammates see that."
Gordon, who led the NFL in receiving in 2013, hasn't played in a regular season game since Dec. 21, 2014, after multiple violations of the league's substance abuse policy and a public struggle with addiction.
Jackson believes Gordon, who spoke of being the best version of himself when he reunited with the team a few weeks ago, is on the right path.
"I think he's in really good shape and in a really good place as a person first and foremost," he said. "He's done everything we've asked of him."