BEREA — While the NFL continues to debate his fate, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon returned to training camp Monday.
The Pro Bowl pass catcher took part in the first two hours of practice, then headed inside the building to continue the appeals process for his one-year suspension. An NFL spokesman said no decision on Gordon’s status is expected until at least this afternoon.
“Every time he’s out here, it’s like LeBron (James) coming back,” cornerback Joe Haden said. “Josh is that important to this team, and it’s always special to have him on the field. He’s doing the best he can and staying positive.”
Gordon took part in an afternoon teleconference regarding his third violation of the NFL’s illegal substance policy, reportedly for testing positive for marijuana in the offseason.
Three days earlier, the Houston native joined attorney Maurice Suh and agent Drew Rosenhaus in a 9½-hour hearing at the league headquarters in New York City. Their goal was to have Gordon’s full-season ban reduced by NFL labor relations executive Harold Henderson.
Gordon had a four-game suspension — for failing an offseason drug test — cut in half at the start of the 2013 season. He still managed to top the team with 66 receptions and gain an NFL-high and franchise-record 1,646 yards.
“You could tell this is like a sanctuary for him because he loves football,” wide receiver Nate Burleson said. “There are certain guys that the league needs to have on the field — and Josh is one of them. He’s one of the more premier talents in the NFL, so I hope that he’s in a Browns jersey this year.”
So does Cleveland coach Mike Pettine, who is attempting to maximize Gordon’s practice time before the start of his suspension. Though news of his latest violation broke during the NFL Draft, there is still no resolution two months later.
“We’ve been patient so far, and we’re going to continue to be patient with Josh,” Pettine said. “It’s part of a process that we’re all working through.”
Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron (shoulder) did not practice, but was wearing a uniform as he worked out with the training staff. He is unlikely to play in Cleveland’s preseason opener Saturday at the Detroit Lions.
“It’s an AC (joint) issue with the shoulder, but it’s not anything,” Pettine said. “If this were a (regular season) game week, more than likely he would have gone out. We haven’t made a decision yet for Detroit, but more than likely, we will err on the side of caution.”
Also sidelined were safety Tashaun Gipson (knee), linebacker Tank Carder (foot), cornerback Isaiah Trufant (knee), and guard Randall Harris (knee).
Tackle Reid Fragel (lower leg) limped off the field during practice and did not return.
Tackle Michael Bowie (shoulder), who was awarded to Cleveland via a waiver claim Sunday, is expected to undergo surgery and miss the entire season.
The Seahawks designated the second-year pro as waived/injured, hoping to re-sign him and place him on injured reserve. Bowie started eight games last season for the Super Bowl champions.
Defensive tackle Phil Taylor (hamstring) was activated off the non-football injury list and took part in his initial practice of the summer.
The 6-foot-3, 335-pounder downplayed his ailment, which occurred during the team-wide conditioning test on the eve of training camp.
“It was just a tweak, but the coaches didn’t want me back out here until I was fully recovered,” he said. “More of a precautionary thing than anything, but it sucked not being out there competing. It feels good to be back out here with my brothers.”
Taylor is working at nose tackle and at the “three-technique” on the end — next to Ahtyba Rubin — under coordinator Jim O’Neil’s hybrid system.
“Me and Rube, that would be the best bet for us because we have that connection,” he said. “We’ve been together since I was a rookie, but like Coach said, the best guys are going to get the spots out there. He wants us to learn as many positions as we can to help the team.”
Keep an eye on …
Wide receiver Willie Snead — an undrafted rookie from Ball State — continues to make a positive impression on the coaching staff. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder stood out again at practice, building on his strong performance Saturday at the intrasquad scrimmage in Akron.
“We talk about the need to ‘play like a Brown’, and Willie hits a lot of those spots,” Pettine said. “He stepped it up in the scrimmage with that fourth-down catch and did some nice things again today.
“A lot of guys on our defense don’t like him, which I think is another good sign.”
Snead, whose hair resembles the mop top of Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, laughed when told of his coach’s comments.
“That’s just my nature of being aggressive,” said Snead, who caught 106 passes for 1,516 yards and 15 touchdowns last season for Ball State. “I like to put hands on guys and most DBs don’t like it. That comes wherever I go. It’s a problem for DBs.”
The Browns added cornerback Royce Adams to their roster for the second time this year. The 5-10, 190-pounder from Purdue was previously with the team from Feb. 12-July 23.
Adams, who split his high school football career between St. Edward and Glenville, made his professional debut in 2011 with the Arena Football League’s Pittsburgh Power.
The South Euclid native spent the entire 2012 season on injured reserve with the New York Jets, then attended their training camp last season before being released.
Guard Jason Pinkston, wide receiver Chandler Jones, linebacker Edgar Jones and tight end James Oboh were placed on waivers, reducing Cleveland’s roster to 87 players.
- Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel added another endorsement deal, signing a multiyear contract with MusclePharm to promote its sports nutrition products.
- WKBW-TV 7 in Buffalo sent a two-person crew to interview Pettine, who spent last season as the Bills’ defensive coordinator.
- Cleveland has 33-1 odds of winning the AFC title and is listed at 75-1 to capture the Super Bowl crown, according to bookmaker Bovada.
- The attendance at practice was 3,307, giving the Browns a seven-day total of 24,587 fans at their headquarters in Berea.
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.