The wide receiver announced Thursday that he was entering rehab in an effort to “gain full control of my life.” Gordon is eligible to play in the Browns’ Week 5 contest against the New England Patriots as part of the terms of his NFL reinstatement for a substance abuse violation. Gordon’s decision to enter rehab, however, puts his comeback on hold indefinitely.
“After careful thought and deep consideration I’ve decided that I need to step away from pursuing my return to the Browns and my football career to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility,” Gordon wrote. “This is the right decision for me and one that I hope will enable me to gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person. I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent and the community through this extremely challenging process.”
The release brings a close to an unmemorable two seasons in Cleveland for both McCown and Williams, who were signed as part of former general manager Ray Farmer’s spending spree of 2015. After being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, former head coach Mike Pettine and former quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo teamed up to lure McCown to Cleveland as a reliably average solution to the quarterback position while the uncertainty of Johnny Manziel festered in rehab and Brian Hoyer was packing his bags to leave for good. The results were two predictably forgettable seasons under center, a two-year campaign that began with McCown sacrificing his body in a vain attempt to score in Week 1 against the Jets (resulting in the infamous helicopter hit) and ended with McCown on the bench, watching Robert Griffin III play out the season.
When one in Cleveland reflects on McCown’s career, that person will think of ugly seasons, multiple injuries (two broken collarbones in two years, a concussion) and missed games (he played in 13 contests in two seasons), but they’ll remember his gutty play behind a line that saw two of its best three pieces depart between McCown’s first and cheap jerseys and second season in Cleveland. They’ll remember his blue-collar attitude, which was on full display after a difficult loss in 2016 in which he was again knocked around relentlessly.
While Kizer might not have been the No. 1 quarterback on Cleveland’s offseason wish list, he has incredible size and arm strength. He’ll need time to be conditioned by Jackson but sounds as though he has the head coach’s attention.
Kizer is Jackson’s first real chance to attach his name to a quarterback with long-term starter potential since Joe Flacco (Jackson was the Ravens’ quarterbacks coach in 2008 and 2009). While he did fantastic work with Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, this is a ground-up project that energizes coaches like Jackson, who enjoy the quarterback whisperer title.
The odd component is watching Davis head back to New York. In a way, it defines the Jets’ desperation to get Pryor off the roster. Davis was a player apparently not worth the two years and $8 million the Browns signed him for back in early March last year in the Jets’ eyes. Now, he could find himself working back into the starting lineup. Davis started 15 games for Cleveland last year with two sacks and 59 solo tackles. Before that, he was a 16-game starter for the Jets each of the last three years.
So it goes in the NFL where the new Browns regime has established itself as one of the league’s more enjoyable wheeler and dealers. After stripping the roster of all their dead weight like Justin Gilbert and Barkevious Mingo via trade, they acquired Brock Osweiler from the Texans and now Pryor from the Jets.
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Should Kizer eventually emerge as quality starter, he will become the first Fighting Irish quarterback to enjoy extended NFL success since Joe Theismann and Joe Montana four decades ago.
Kizer immediately becomes the most talented passer in Cleveland’s quarterback room. Even if he needs time to develop at the next level, it shouldn’t be long before he’s pressing the underwhelming duo of Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler for first-team reps.
With a versatile skill set and big-play explosiveness that made him one of college football’s top rushers for three years, Cook is an intriguing possibility for a Browns offense that ranked 19th in the NFL in rushing last year at 107 yards per game.
The club is also hosting Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon and Florida CB Quincy Wilson on Monday, per MMQB’s Albert Breer. The Browns have plenty of needs, and plenty of draft picks to fill them. Cook is one of the draft’s top rushers, but he’s competing for draft position in a loaded field of heavily scouted running backs also led by FSU’s Leonard Fournette, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and Mixon. Cook ranks third at the position, behind Fournette and McCaffrey, according to NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock’s latest positional rankings.