BEREA: Wide receiver Josh Gordon has endured rumblings about the Browns trading him since the morning of Sept. 22, and he conceded all the speculation is wearing on him.
“I’m tired of it,” Gordon said Wednesday before practice. “I honestly wish if it was going to happen, I wish it would happen already instead of dragging on. If a trade offer came in and that’s what the Browns want to do, so be it. If not, then let it be known this is where I’m going to be. Honestly, it’s part of the game. I’m dealing with it.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that at least three teams have contacted the Browns about trading for Gordon, two of which have standing offers of a high draft pick and a player. The Browns have balked so far, according to the report.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski has repeatedly said the organization has no plans to trade Gordon, second-round pick in last year’s supplemental draft. Two weeks ago, Browns CEO Joe Banner delivered the same message during an interview with USA Today, but he also offered a caveat.
“If you’re in this long enough, you learn to never say anything absolute, because then something comes up and you look like you lied,” Banner said. “I personally — and I think anybody here — would be completely shocked if we ended up trading him. Josh is playing great. He’s working his butt off.”
Although Gordon has potential to develop into an elite receiver, the NFL suspended him two games at the beginning of this season for violating its substance-abuse policy. He has said it’s his understanding that another violation of the policy would result in a season-long banishment.
That’s the main reason many believe the Browns might deal him. The NFL trade deadline is at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
“It would be pretty naive of me to not think it’s possible in this business of the NFL,” Gordon said. “So it could happen any minute, any day. So if it does, it does. If it doesn’t, you know, I’m glad to be here.
“Ultimately it’s up to Joe Banner and [owner] Jimmy Haslam and the guys up top, but I do feel comforted in my head coach wants me to be here. But the reality of it is anybody can make a deal, and they’re saying they’re opening to listening to people, so anything can happen.”
Gordon had his worst game of the season Sunday in a 31-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He caught only two passes for 21 yards and didn’t look like himself, especially after cornerback Tramon Williams drew an unnecessary roughness penalty in the second quarter for slamming him to the ground.
“I came out a little bit,” Gordon said. “I guess I just got the wind knocked out of me on my left side by my ribs or whatever, but I was all right.”
In the midst of swirling trade rumors, Gordon is determined to prove himself Sunday when the Browns (3-4) visit the Kansas City Chiefs (7-0).
“I need to show something, not just for people, just for myself,” Gordon said. “Regardless of all this stuff, trade rumors and stuff like that, I still have to be focused and play my game. When it gets here, it gets here. If I’m still on the team, great. If not, great. That’s just how it’s going to have to go for me. I’m not sure right now.
“I’m here in Cleveland, and I want to make a difference here in Cleveland. This is where I am right now. Whatever happens tomorrow, I’ll have to deal with that then. But my head and my space is right here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.”
Free safety Tashaun Gipson said he reached out to Packers tight end Jermichael Finley via text message Monday, but he wouldn’t reveal the content or whether Finley responded.
Finley suffered a bruised spinal cord when Gipson used his shoulder to hit Finley’s helmet early in the fourth quarter Sunday. Finley was taken off the field on a stretcher and has been hospitalized since.
Gipson said he’s been playing football for 17 years and has never been involved in such a devastating collision. He never wants his son, Tashaun Gipson Jr., to see him hurt the way Finley was.
“It was a scary feeling, scary sight, just seeing a guy’s body limp like that out there,” Gipson said. “You definitely never want to see something like that happen. To hear the latter effects of it, it’s definitely unfortunate. All I can do is keep him in my prayers. I know he has family and he has kids. I’ve got kids. I know I wouldn’t want one of my kids to see their dad like that. So my prayers are with him. I hope he has a speedy recovery, and I know he’s up and walking. So that’s definitely a good sign.”
Gipson was penalized for unnecessary roughness, and referee Jeff Triplette said he led with his helmet. However, replays and photographs show Gipson hit Finley with his shoulder.
Gipson said the NFL has not fined him for the play.
“I’ve watched that play over and over — just trying to see what really transpired for it to be this serious of an injury,” Gipson said. “It was really just two guys going out there being physical. He’s a physical guy, and I pride myself on trying to be physical. We just clashed and it happened. Their coach came out and said there wasn’t anything malicious or dirty about the hit.
“So how do I avoid it? I don’t know. I don’t want to be in that situation again for something like this to transpire. But I don’t know if this will happen again. I pray it won’t. My best wishes go out to him and his family.”
Gipson insisted he won’t change the way he plays as a result of Finley’s injury.
“I could come up and tap somebody, and they could run over me and run through me all game,” Gipson said. “I’d be cut next season, or I could do my job. We’ve all got a job out there. His job is to catch the ball and get it to the end zone by any means, and my job is to get him on the ground. I truly don’t know how to change as a defensive back.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid believes the Browns are in good hands with Banner, who helped hire him in 1999 to guide the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I’m a big Joe Banner fan,” Reid said during a conference call. “I spent 14 great years with him, and we had a ton of success together. He was one of those instrumental in me being part of the Philadelphia Eagles, and he gave me every opportunity along with [owner] Jeffrey Lurie to win football games. He’s a brilliant guy, he knows football, he knows talent, he knows what it takes to win. I think he will do a nice job there.
“You see the different moves he’s making strategically with the trades and accumulating draft picks. He’s very, very good at that. What might seem crazy now, you just watch how it blossoms in the future. He’s got a great eye for putting things together that way.”
Running back Fozzy Whittaker will serve as the Browns’ new kickoff returner, replacing wide receiver Greg Little, Chudzinski said. Travis Benjamin will also receive some opportunities to return kickoffs, Chudzinski said. … Backup defensive end Billy Winn practiced Wednesday for the first time since he suffered a quadriceps injury Sept. 22 against the Minnesota Vikings. … Backup outside linebacker Quentin Groves (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. … Chudzinski said Jordan Poyer, whom the Browns claimed off waivers Monday, will play safety instead of cornerback to compensate for the loss of Josh Aubrey, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury last week. … The Browns re-signed running back Jamaine Cook to their practice squad. … Cornerback Buster Skrine and other Browns players had problems keeping their footing Sunday in slick conditions at Lambeau Field. “Maybe we should’ve changed our cleats, worn different cleats,” Skrine said.