Bill Cowher said he wouldn't touch Josh Gordon with a 10-foot pole. Bill Belichick obviously would.
Cowher made his observation as a former coach-turned-CBS analyst Sunday. Belichick made his move Monday as czar of the New England Patriots, trading a fifth-round pick for the enigmatic receiver.
In an apt coda to the arduous Gordon saga, Belichick made room on the Patriots roster by cutting Corey Coleman, who was Gordon's Browns teammate as recently as last month.
Coming off a 21-18 loss at New Orleans, Browns coach Hue Jackson was peppered Monday with questions about closing the book on Gordon.
"I hate to term it a relief," Jackson said. "I'm glad there's closure. Let's just say it that way.
"Josh is now a member of their football team. On we go."
General Manager John Dorsey did a deal with Belichick as the Browns speed-shifted toward a Thursday night game against the New York Jets.
"I think John got the best deal we could get," Jackson said.
It figures that it would be Belichick. He not only is a former Browns head coach, but he's also a longtime former Browns player collector. Former expansion-era draft Browns picks who found their way to Foxborough include Gerard Warren, Leigh Bodden, Kellen Winslow Jr., Jabaal Sheard, Barkevious Mingo and Danny Shelton.
After the Browns cut Kenny Britt late last season, Belichick acquired him. Anxious about his offense after a 31-20 loss at Jacksonville on Sunday, Belichick made a run at Gordon. Last week, Belichick signed former Browns first-rounder Coleman.
One of Belichick's 2018 defensive backs, Jason McCourty, started 15 games for the 2017 Browns.
Belichick's experience at acquiring edgy wide receivers includes the 1995 signing of Andre Rison in Cleveland. Rison gave the Browns 47 catches in a surreal season that ended with the franchise moving to Baltimore and Belichick getting fired.
Gordon was a second pick of the Browns in the 2012 NFL supplemental draft. He led the NFL in receiving yards in 2013 before plunging into a quagmire of suspensions in which he played in only 10 games from 2014 to 17.
The Browns are talking around the issue of what caused them to finally give up on Gordon. Jackson did make it clear Gordon was in the team's 2018 plans up until Saturday.
"Obviously," Jackson said, "Josh was the starter. This gives [rookie] Antonio Callaway a chance to have more swings at it. He's ready for it."
Callaway, a rookie fourth-round pick with his own shadowy past, replaced Gordon at New Orleans and caught a late touchdown pass that put the Browns in position to win.
Taking Gordon’s place on the roster is 30-year-old wideout Rod Streater, a sixth-year pro out of Temple. Like Gordon, Streater last was a serious player in 2013, when he gave the Oakland Raiders 60 catches for 888 yards as a second-year pro. Since then, Streater has totaled 28 catches for 283 yards.
During the spring, Gordon assessed the Browns' core of himself, Jarvis Landry, Coleman and Callaway by projecting them as the best wide receiver group in the NFL.
Rashard Higgins, who had five catches for 47 yards but also a crucial drop against the Saints, has emerged as a No. 3 wideout. Landry caught five passes for 69 yards after delivering seven catches for 106 yards in the opener.
Callaway didn't have a catch in the opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers — Gordon played 69 snaps — but made three catches for 81 yards at New Orleans.
The Browns last won a game in which Gordon played in 2014. In this year's opener, he caught one pass, a touchdown that was a key play in a 21-21 tie. On Saturday, the Browns first announced Gordon was out with a hamstring issue but late in the day said he would be cut on Monday.
The trade with the Patriots gives the Browns a fifth-round pick in 2019 no matter what. If Gordon does not appear in at least 10 of the remaining 14 games, the Patriots will receive the Browns' seventh-round pick in 2019.