By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
BEREA: Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner and running back Willis McGahee believe the trade rumors surrounding wide receiver Josh Gordon are affecting him.
“I would hope not, but I’m realistic to know that it does,” Turner said Thursday before practice. “He’s a young guy. He’s not very experienced. He wasn’t the go-to guy as a young player, so this is all a new thing for him. I think when you add those things to it, it can affect him. Obviously, we’re doing our best to focus and let him understand that he’s our guy, and we want him to be as good as he can get.”
Gordon conceded Wednesday that he’s tired of speculation that he could be traded by the NFL deadline at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Reports surfaced the morning of Sept. 22 and have persisted. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that at least three teams have contacted the Browns about dealing for Gordon, and that two have standing offers of a high draft pick and a player. The Browns have balked thus far, according to the report.
“I would think it would bother him,” said McGahee, 32, the offense’s elder statesman. “From what I’ve seen, I think he wants to be here. I’m hoping he wants to be here. When you hear you’re about to get traded, your spirits change a little bit. But the only thing I can tell him is that it’s a business and anybody is expendable. Just go out and do your job. Do what you do. Don’t let people see you all bent out of shape and things like that.”
Although coach Rob Chudzinski and CEO Joe Banner have said the organization has no plans to trade Gordon; no one has ruled it out, either. The main reason it’s a hot topic is because the NFL suspended Gordon two games at the beginning of this season for violating its substance-abuse policy, and Gordon’s understanding is that he’ll face a season-long ban if he slips again.
McGahee is convinced Gordon, 22, needs a veteran wide receiver to mentor him. The Browns traded for Davone Bess in the offseason, but he has repeatedly said he’s hesitant to advise Gordon because so many people are already telling him what to do and what not to do.
“Josh is a good kid,” McGahee said. “He just needs that other veteran receiver to show him to see how things go. Just throwing names out like [Houston Texans receiver] Andre [Johnson], if he had a guy like Andre, he would see how it works.
“Everybody gets it. It just depends on when. I didn’t get it until my fourth or fifth year. And I was like, ‘All right, I got to start eating right and got to start doing this.’ That’s part of life. That’s part of growing. He has the talent. You can see it in him.”
McGahee, though, is reluctant to take Gordon under his wing.
“You respect the older guys, but you respect the guy more at your position,” McGahee said. “I can’t tell him how to go out there and run a route or what foot he’s cutting off of. That’s the coaches or what another receiver over there has to do. That’s not my category. I can’t help him. I can just tell him what I’ve seen.”
Turner also defended Gordon against those who thought he was slacking Sunday in a 31-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He had a season-low two catches for 21 yards.
“I hate when someone sees them play and says it’s a lack of effort,” Turner said. “There’s a lot of things going on. I wouldn’t question Josh’s effort.”
Outside linebacker Quentin Groves (ankle) and McGahee (knee) did not practice. McGahee was simply taking a day off to rest like he did last week, a team spokesman said. … London is not calling the Browns. The NFL announced Thursday that the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Dallas Cowboys, the Atlanta Falcons will host the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders will host the Miami Dolphins at London’s Wembley Stadium next season. The Browns have road games against the Jaguars and Falcons, but they won’t be played overseas. … Packers tight end Jermichael Finley was released from the hospital Thursday after suffering a bruised spinal cord Sunday. Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton opened his news conference by wishing Finley well.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com.