Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon claims he's ready for the challenge of reviving his NFL career.
After missing 27 of the team's last 32 games and being suspended in each of the last four seasons for violating the league's substance abuse policy, Gordon is prepared to show why he's changed. The NFL reinstated Gordon on Monday, but he will serve a four-game suspension to begin the upcoming season.
"I definitely think I'm a changed person," Gordon told ESPN. "If you haven't changed over a period of time, that's a bad thing. I think me standing here is a testament to that."
Gordon says he's a changed person, and the Browns seem prepared to help him stay that way. They say they will support him and give him an opportunity, but Gordon has to want it.
"We'll find out very quickly if he's serious about it," Sashi Brown, the team's executive vice president of football operations, told Ohio.com. "We believe he is, but we'll hold him accountable, and he'll have to hold himself accountable."
Gordon admitted that in the past he was a selfish player. That selfishness garnered him a one-year ban last season, a 10-game suspension in 2014 and a two-game suspension in 2013.
But despite those multiple suspensions, Gordon is embracing the support system he has in Cleveland, particularly the support he gets from former Baylor teammate, quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin and Gordon were teammates at Baylor from 2009-2010.
"That's one of my best friends," Gordon told ESPN. "It's not a mistake that my locker is next to his. He looks out for me as part of my support staff I've been mentioning."
Though Gordon has a support system, he will need to get back into football shape. He's been working out during the off-season, but he will miss the first few weeks of training camp because of a quad injury.
No doubt, Gordon has obstacles to overcome as he prepares for the season. He has to get healthy. He has to stay clean off the field. The Browns are prepared to help him with all of that; he just has to meet them halfway.
"The change is going to be within," Brown told Ohio.com. "We'll support him through that as teammates, front office staff, coaches and player development, but the change is going to have to be within Josh."
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