INDIANAPOLIS: Given Josh Gordon's well-documented battle with drug and alcohol addiction, the Browns can never be certain the former All-Pro wide receiver will be able to stay out of trouble and remain available to play.

But right now, the organization's leaders are optimistic about Gordon and his future.

Browns General Manager John Dorsey made that clear in an interview with Pro Football Talk Live during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center.

"I think Josh Gordon is a physical freak," Dorsey said during the interview, which was recorded Thursday and posted online Friday. "I've sat down and talked to him, had numerous conversations, and my message to Josh Gordon is, 'You know what? As long as you're behind the Cleveland Browns 100 percent, I'm 100 percent behind Josh Gordon.'

"That's my mindset. He and I have communicated, and there's some things that I've helped him with and we've sat and discussed. But right now, I love where he is right now. I think he's in a good place right now, but we'll see how this thing moves forward."

Gordon, 26, was suspended for nearly three years of his prime because of recurring violations of the NFLs substance-abuse policy. After missing 44 consecutive games and 54 of 59, he returned to regular-season action on Dec. 3. He played in the final five games of the season and caught 18 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown on 43 targets.

The Browns hired Dorsey as their new GM on Dec. 7, so he was with them for their last four games.

Dorsey was asked on PFT Live if he thinks Gordon can return to being the player who led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards in 2013.

"I do," Dorsey replied. "I mean there was a lot of time laid off there, but when I watched him play in those last four games that Cleveland had, you could see, you know what, he's a pretty good player, a really good football player."

On Wednesday, Browns coach Hue Jackson said Gordon is "having a really good offseason" and "I truly believe that Josh Gordon is going to have a great year for us."

Jackson said the Browns will tender Gordon a one-year contract (worth $790,000) as an exclusive free agent by March 14, meaning he won't be able to negotiate or sign with another team. Hell be scheduled for restricted free agency after the 2018 season and unrestricted free agency after the 2019 season, but Jackson said "we want Josh Gordon to be a Cleveland Brown for a long time."

Contact made

Dorsey told PFT Live he has had discussions with agent Drew Rosenhaus regarding starting running back Isaiah Crowell, who's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent March 14.

"We've had really nice discussions with Isaiah's representative. It will be an ongoing process," Dorsey said. "I thought he did a really nice job last year, and toward the end of the year, I thought he did a pretty good job. I've had discussions with a lot of different people."

On Wednesday, Jackson sounded as if he doesn't have much hope for Crowell returning to the Browns.

"As you guys know in free agency, these players, they get to make the decision, too. Its not so much about us," Jackson said. "Again, they get the opportunity to make a decision that they think is best for them. He was a fine football player for us. Glad he played for us, and well see where this goes."

Starting caliber?

Although it's not a sure thing the Browns will sign AJ McCarron in their search for a veteran quarterback who can serve as a bridge to the QB they'll likely draft first overall in April, the Cincinnati Bengals backup is widely considered the candidate most likely to land in Cleveland.

And whether McCarron can succeed for an extended length of time in a starting role is a mystery. He's 2-2 as an NFL starter, including 0-1 in the playoffs. All of his starts came in 2015, when starter Andy Dalton was sidelined with a broken thumb.

Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin said he believes McCarron can be an effective starter.

"His mental makeup is what you want," Tobin said. "His competitiveness is what you want. Only time will tell. I think with quarterbacks, it's situation, opportunity, what's around him, what you ask him to do. I think any quarterback needs all that to align to be ultimately successful. But we've got a lot of belief in AJ McCarron. That's what I've said for the years he's been with us, and we still believe that."

Still, the Bengals believe in Dalton more.

"We think that the sky's the limit for Andy, in our opinion," Tobin said. "So we did not look at starting AJ over him.

"We felt good if AJ had to go in the game, but we feel good about what Andy's done. Andy's been able to play at the top of the league in the past."

Some sense of relief

Ohio State center Billy Price, a projected first-round draft pick, said he was diagnosed Friday morning with "an incomplete" pectoral muscle tear after feeling a pop in his chest while bench pressing Thursday.

A complete tear would have been much worse news.

"Looking at the MRI results, we were able to see a little bit of an issue, nothing that's going to force me to miss time at all," said Price, a graduate of Austintown Fitch High School. "I'll be fine for the season going forward, and I should be fine going into training camp."

Price said he might have surgery and was told it would be a four-month recovery. He explained he's getting a second medical opinion to confirm the diagnosis.

"Im not worried about this at all. This is something that Im going to come back stronger," Price said. "Youre going to have to really put a bullet between us Ohio State guys eyes to put us down."

High praise

Dorsey and the player personnel staff he has assembled have been receiving rave reviews in league circles this offseason.

"That's a great move by their ownership," said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who spent four years working with Dorsey before the latter was fired by Kansas City in June. "They've got a lot of picks, high picks, and to have a veteran guy in there that is a phenomenal talent evaluator coming in to be able to do that, I think it will be great, and they've got good coaches there, too. So I would look to see Cleveland really rise here, and John will do a great job with the draft."

Colts GM Chris Ballard also has high hopes for Dorsey after working with him in Kansas City.

"I love John. He's like a brother. He's as good an evaluator of talent as I've been around in this league," Ballard said. "He's got a unique quality to look at every level of the draft -- it's one of the great things I learned from him.

"A lot of time what happens is as a GM or as a director of player personnel, you just scout the top-150 prospects. We scouted the undrafted guys just as hard as we scouted the first-round guys, and I think that's why he's had such great success both in Green Bay and in Kansas City. And he'll have it in Cleveland."