Gordon happy he’s still in Cleveland, not elsewhere
CLEVELAND – You really can’t tell by Josh Gordon’s body language if he’s happy to still be with the Browns or if he had some other NFL city on his mind.
The Browns receiver has been part of numerous trade rumors leading up to the trade deadline that passed two days ago. Reports stated that the Browns had standing offers from two teams of a second-round draft choice and a player in exchange for Gordon, one of the NFL’s fast-rising stars.
Gordon kept his phone close by Tuesday before the 4 p.m. deadline. When he didn’t get a call from his agent or a member of the Browns’ front office, there was a sense of relief.
In hindsight, Gordon didn’t expect to be traded.
“I didn’t think I’d end up anywhere else,” Gordon said. “I’m glad it turned out that way.”
A trade wouldn’t have sat well with fans who were shocked when running back Trent Richardson was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-round draft choice after just two games. Many of those same fans have bought into that trade because of the poor way Richardson has played.
It’s not easy to gauge how serious management was in shopping Gordon. General manager Michael Lombardi was critical of the former regime for yielding a second-round draft choice to land Gordon in a supplemental draft in June of 2012. Lombardi tried his best to smooth over those comments after he was named GM last January.
It’s probable that the Browns were asking for a first-round draft choice. Given Gordon’s potential, that would make sense from the Browns’ point of view.
Coach Rob Chudzinski has maintained throughout the process that Gordon wouldn’t be traded.
“From my part and from our part, we want him here,” Chudzinski said.
Gordon admitted recently that the rumors have been disconcerting and flattering at the same time. He was criticized for what was deemed a lackadaisical performance in a loss to the Green Bay Packers, adding to speculation that the rumors were getting to him.
Gordon has steadfastly denied he wasn’t giving a full effort.
“The Green Bay game was tough for everybody,” Gordon said. “The trade rumors had nothing to do with it. It was wet out there and it was kind of hard to get into a groove.”
Gordon has been hot and cold in playing six games this season (he was suspended the first two for a substance-abuse violation). He has 32 receptions for 582 yards and three touchdowns.
Now that Gordon knows Cleveland will be his home for a while longer, he wants to set his sights on becoming a top-10 receiver in the league.
“I plan on playing and practicing like that,” Gordon said. “I’m definitely striving to become one of the best.”
The rap against Gordon last season centered on route running. Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar, a commentator for preseason games, was critical of Gordon last season for some his decisions.
Criticism is something Gordon has grown accustomed to for his actions on and off the field. He isn’t bothered by Kosar’s comments.
“I’ve definitely progressed from where I was, but guys are always going to be critical or might not like me or how I do it,” Gordon said. “It’s not going to stop me from playing the game I play.
“I always feel that I’ll get better and that the naysayers will be there, and that’s just how it’s going to have to be. I can’t let it affect me on the field.”
He’s done a good job of that so far.