INDIANAPOLIS -- What Sashi Brown has heard about Josh Gordon's path toward reinstatement has been encouraging, but the situation remains fluid and out of the organization's hands.
Brown, Cleveland's executive vice president of football operations, acknowledged any discussion about Gordon's place on the Browns' 2016 roster was hypothetical during his media session Thursday at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. Gordon, a Pro Bowl wide receiver, was suspended by the NFL for the entire 2015 season and must reapply through the league for reinstatement. That process is ongoing, Brown said, and it's not clear when there will be a resolution.
"We're very limited in terms of what we can do in terms of communication and contact with Josh. We know he's working out, and by all signs he's on the path to come back and be reinstated. That's a process that the team's not involved with," Brown said. "I'm not going to comment on that, but Josh is a tremendously talented young man. I've gotten a chance to know Josh a little bit over the three years I've been in Cleveland and known him to be a good young man. He understands that he's made some mistakes in the past and I think he's accountable for those.
"Everything we see and hear from his representation and those in contact with him is that he's eager to get back and contribute. We feel like if he's accomplished those things, there's a spot for him on the roster."
Gordon, who served a 10-game suspension to start the 2014 season, caught 24 passes for 303 yards in five games. His breakout, Pro Bowl season was in 2013, when he hauled in 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. A second-round supplemental pick in 2012, Gordon has averaged more than 78 yards in the games he's played for the Browns.
Brown said his first priority when it concerned Gordon is to gauge where he's at as a person before he worries about Gordon as the football player. In his meetings with reporters Wednesday, Browns coach Hue Jackson stressed "fit" would be important when it pertained to whether Gordon had a place on Cleveland's 2016 roster.
Both Brown and Jackson stressed high character would serve as one of the most important aspects as they team to build up the Browns roster. That will certainly apply to Gordon if he's reinstated for the upcoming season, Brown said.
"I think we hold him accountable and set the expectations and make sure that he understands exactly what that means," Brown said. "You're going to come out and compete at practice, you're going to come out and you're going to be reliable and accountable to your teammates. I think Josh is wise enough to understand that if he comes back he's going to have to prove that a bit and eyes will be on him. But I think he can do it — I know him well enough, he's a good young man. He's just got to get past a few things.
"Hopefully he's learned, if he hasn't, he won't be part of the organization. But I trust he'll have learned enough to give himself an opportunity to do that."