When Josh Gordon came jogging out of the tunnel for his first NFL practice in nearly 20 months, something looked different.
He didn’t quite look like the sleek, muscular Gordon who took the league by storm in 2013 with 1,646 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. No, he looked a bit . . . larger:
Now, Josh Gordon was by no means a small man during his first few seasons in the NFL. In 2013, he was listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds. But it does appear some extra weight has crept onto his frame during his prolonged absence from the NFL. The fact that he’s been sidelined from training camp with a quad injury until recently probably made conditioning difficult.
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Art Briles, who coached Gordon at Baylor University, noticed his weight while visiting Browns training camp last week. “He needs to lose a little weight, but he knows that,” Briles told Cleveland.com. Browns head coach Hue Jackson echoed the sentiment. “He does [need to lose some weight]. We’re working through that process, too,” Jackson said.
While neither Gordon nor Jackson have given a specific number on the receiver’s current weight, it’s a safe bet that he has a sizable amount of work to do. His arms looked thick and muscular during his first practice back, but he also seemed to be carrying extra weight around his midsection.
Gordon said he’ll decide on his playing weight once he gets back into the swing of football activities.
“There really isn’t a number. No one gave me a number. I’ve set a goal in my head of what I used to play at, but I feel just as strong, just as fast as I’ve ever felt before. If not stronger, if not faster. We’ll see how my production is and go from there,” Gordon said. “I’ll be able to tell how I feel once I get out there.”
He also expressed no doubts that he can be the same player who shredded the league in 2013. “I’m definitely the same guy. I’m confident in my abilities. I know what I can do. Just given the opportunity and the right timing, right position and the relying on the rest of the team as much as they rely on me, it’s a great boost of motivation and anything is possible for anybody,” Gordon said. “I think I can build upon [that 2013 season] and do even better.”
Gordon has reportedly seen his weight balloon up before. In March, former Browns safety Donte Whitner told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Gordon’s weight appeared to be around 255 pounds at one point during his suspension. However, there were also stretches of that time when he seemed to be in stellar shape. He spent much of last winter grinding in Los Angeles at EXOS L.A. and Jay Glazer’s Unbreakable Performance Center while sporting a physique that looked Sunday ready.
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Despite temperatures hovering around 80 degrees during Monday’s practice, Gordon elected to wear a sleeveless hoodie beneath his jersey. As any football player can tell you, more layers equals more sweat, which translates to faster weight loss.
Gordon’s weight shouldn’t be a huge area of concern—yet. Since he’s suspended for the first four regular season games of 2016, he still has plenty of time to get back into playing shape. If Gordon manages to do that while getting well-versed in the offense, he could be ready to make an impact as soon as his suspension expires.
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