CLEVELAND — Josh Gordon’s troubled tenure with the Cleveland Browns has ended.
The team announced Saturday night that it intends to release the former Pro Bowl wide receiver, whose immense talent has been overshadowed by substance abuse that has derailed a promising career.
The stunning news came just hours after the Browns said Gordon would miss Sunday’s game in New Orleans with a hamstring injury. Gordon has been suspended by the NFL for most of the past four seasons because of multiple drug violations, and the Browns have been supportive of the 27-year-old for years as he tried to get his life together.
"This afternoon we informed Josh Gordon and his representatives that we are going to release him on Monday," general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. "For the past six years, the Browns have fully supported and invested in Josh, both personally and professionally and wanted the best for him, but unfortunately we’ve reached a point where we feel it’s best to part ways and move forward. We wish Josh well."
The team provided no details behind their decision to part ways with Gordon. He missed three weeks of training camp this summer to undergo counseling and treatment, and he recently said he was in a good place mentally and physically.
Gordon played in last week’s season opener against Pittsburgh, his first appearance in a Week 1 game since 2012, when he was a rookie.
Gordon was expected to have an expanded role this week against the Saints after being targeted just three times in a tie against Pittsburgh. He caught a game-tying, 17-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Steelers, but was mostly used as a decoy.
Gordon started the opener despite coach Hue Jackson saying he wouldn’t be on the field for the first snap as punishment for missing camp. Jackson blamed Gordon’s appearance on the first played a "mistake" and "miscommunication."
Jackson refused to elaborate on the situation this week, saying he and the coaching staff wanted to "move on."
Gordon emerged as one of pro football’s most dynamic players in 2013, when he led the league with 1,646 yards receiving and scored nine touchdowns. Gordon was suspended for the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons.
He sat out the first 11 games last year before returning for Cleveland’s final five games.
The Browns selected Gordon in the 2012 supplemental draft despite his background of drug use in college.