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Reunited with Browns, Gordon says he's sober, aiming to be 'best wide receiver of all time'

Nate Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal on

Published in Football

"I want to play for my family, for my daughter, being an example for my daughter," said Gordon, who led the league with 1,646 receiving yards four years ago despite playing only 14 of 16 games.

Gordon said he was excited, grateful and optimistic Tuesday when he reported to Browns headquarters for the first time since he left the team in September 2016 to begin his third trip to rehab. He said his meeting with coach Hue Jackson was filled with laughs and smiles.

"He's just shown his support throughout the entirety of my transition coming back," Gordon said, "and I'm glad to be working with him."

However, Gordon didn't shoot down the notion that he wants to leave the Browns.

Asked if he wants to be in Cleveland, he said, "I'm here to help the team win. That's my first priority, just being the best football player I can be. That comes first and foremost. Anything after that I have no control over."

He didn't fault the Browns, though, for being fed up with him after he left them last season to check into rehab. The team's bigwigs had decided to wash their hands of Gordon, only to eventually change their minds.

"Considering my situation, I believe that's fair, the frustration aspect of it 1/8from the Browns3/8," Gordon said. "Myself, the franchise, the fans, everybody was frustrated at that point in time, so I understand it. I believe me and Coach Jackson and 1/8head of football operations3/8 Sashi Brown and the front office have moved on. They obviously welcomed me back into the organization, so that's in the past and we're looking forward to this year."

As for the claim Gordon made to GQ about Browns fans harassing him and prompting him to move to Gainesville, Fla., he said, "That was just my experience and me telling the story. That was my truth, but what was doesn't have to be."

Gordon has powerful allies from Northeast Ohio. Although he hasn't entered a formal business relationship with LeBron James and Maverick Carter, he said "they have been instrumental as far as just helping putting things into play and giving advice and some mentorship."

He also expressed gratitude to the Browns, NFL and NFL Players Association for playing roles in his return. He said he's thankful to have Goodell in his "corner" and knows he "can lean on him and rely on him."

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