Training Camp

Need to Know: Browns will take things slow with Josh Gordon

The Browns welcomed back Josh Gordon following a leave of absence to focus on his physical and mental well-being.

The talented but embattled wide receiver appeared to be in good spirits Sunday afternoon, smiling and talking to teammates while watching practice from the sidelines. 

Gordon, who continues to recover from a public struggle with addiction, hasn't practiced with Cleveland since the end of offseason workouts, announcing July 23 he wouldn't be in attendance for the start of training camp. 

Against that backdrop, head coach Hue Jackson has made clear Gordon will need to meet organizational expectations and earn his way back onto the playing field. Until then, the Browns will take it slow with the star receiver. 

"I just think that there are some things that we want to see him want to do before I stick him out there. We are to trying to just get him back with his teammates, acclimating him back to the facility with his team and get him in condition," Jackson said.

"I need to make sure that this young man is in shape before I ever stick him back out there. I think that I owe that to him, to the football team and to the organization. We will kind of go from there."

Gordon, who returned in December from a three-year suspension, is expected to play a key role on the Browns' new-look offense. He can participate in meetings and conditioning and "will gradually resume all football activities as deemed appropriate," general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. 

Equally as important, Jackson said, is for Gordon to remain on a positive path off the field. 

"I think the most important thing is let's get him back in our building, let's make sure everything is working great away from football, let's make sure he gets in great shape and then let's put him out there and go from there."

The Browns returned to the practice field after their second preseason game.

— Linebacker Joe Schobert wasn't surprised when rookie Genard Avery took reps with the first-team defense in Friday's preseason loss to the Bills. Avery, a fifth-round pick out of Memphis, has been impressive since stepping foot in Cleveland and could be part of a talented rotation that includes starters in Schobert, Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey.

"He's a willing learner. He takes everything in. He listens," Schobert said. "If you see him out here, he's a human bowling ball. He takes it and goes 100 miles an hour in any direction he wants to go. There aren't a lot of people in the NFL that can stop him if he gets going where he wants to go. I'm excited to see what he's going to do this year. He has a lot of potential. He works hard, he's a hard worker. It should pay off."

— Devon Cajuste's bond with his ailing father made for one the more heartwarming stories on Hard Knocks. Cajuste, a journeyman tight end trying to make his first active roster, has drawn strength from his dad, Gregory, who has battled past a series of serious medical issues since Devon was a teenager. Episode 2 of HBO's award-winning show cast a spotlight on that relationship. "I didn't think that it would get as big as it did," he said. "I thought that is was just a story that I'm trying to tell. I'm not the first to have that story. However, it's an inspiration to have so many people support me."

Cajuste is in his third year out of Stanford. 

— Jabrill Peppers expects defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to figure out ways to get the most out of him and fellow strong safety Derrick Kindred. "We're both pretty versatile guys who play the strong, nickel and the free," Peppers said. "(Gregg) is a mastermind with that, so he's definitely going to figure something out."

Peppers, the 25th overall pick in 2017, is listed as the team's starter but Kindred — a third-year player out of TCU — has seen considerable action over the past years, playing in 26 games with 15 starts.

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