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Josh Gordon shines in preseason debut as Browns offense keeps growing

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TAMPA —** Josh Gordon's return to the football field looked as if he'd never left.

The Browns wide receiver who recently rejoined the club was electric on an otherwise slow night for Cleveland's offense Friday in a loss to the Buccaneers.

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"I felt really good being out there with my teammates — all my friends right here, my brothers. It was uplifting," said Gordon, who played in his first game since 2013. "It was really good, a great experience — some for me to get, a lot of young guys to get as well, but I enjoyed myself."

Indeed, Gordon — who was reinstated by the NFL on a condition basis last month — shined in his preseason debut after a quad injury sidelined him for much of training camp. If there was any rust, it appeared he quickly shook it off.

Gordon, who led the league in receiving in 2013, caught two passes for 87 yards, including an acrobatic 43-yard touchdown grab over Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes just before halftime.

"It's just a double-move play. We practiced it back in Cleveland a couple times. That's all it was," Gordon said, adding, "(Grimes) didn't leave too much room to the boundary so I just thought I would reach over, make a play on the ball and find the end zone."

That came after quarterback Robert Griffin III heaved a 44-yard pass to Gordon that set up a Patrick Murray field goal in the first quarter.

"It gave me a boost. It gave the team a boost. Get that experience again, get that feeling again of what it feels like to make a good play," Gordon said.

"It was great. I think [it was] uplifting for the team and something that we needed at that point and time in the game. It's something we can build on going into next week."

The Browns take on the Buccaneers in Tampa for the third preseason game.

Griffin, who played with Gordon at Baylor, added, "it's just good to see him out there making plays [and] getting an opportunity to play back in the league.

"We look forward to him making the most of that," Griffin continued. "I'm really excited for him."

The Browns are set to host Chicago on Thursday night and, in the meantime, they'll get back to work this week and focus on both the highs and lows from a 30-13 loss to the Buccaneers.

That, of course, includes Gordon's performance in addition to other positives from a spirited week of practice in Tampa Bay.

"I don't think this loss deters us on anything. The practices – that's when we try to build our character and find out who we are as a team. That effort put forth in practice, it will show in the game. We'll get to the point where we get that rhythm and get going and everybody is on the same page – that will happen," Gordon said.

"I think it will happen in the regular season. It's probably too early to tell. As long as we have the attribute of guys that want to work hard in practice and in the game and not give up, that's what we'll be. That will be our identity and at the end of the season we'll see where we are at by then."

And Gordon will do his part in helping the Browns offense be the best it can be. "It was good just to get him back out there in a game and play him," head coach Hue Jackson said.
"He did some good things and there's thing we'll continue to improve on but I thought it was a good start for him."

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