NFL Teams
Pat McManamon, ESPN Staff Writer 402d

Josh Gordon says he's 'clean and sober,' wants to be best WR ever

NFL, Cleveland Browns

BEREA, Ohio -- Josh GordonĀ on Wednesday pronounced himself "clean and sober" and said his goal now that he's back with the Cleveland Browns is to be the NFL's best receiver ever.

"To me that's always been my goal, and I think it's been reaffirmed to me time and time again," Gordon said on his second day with the Browns after being reinstated by the NFL. "Now being back in the situation to do it, I'm going to see it through."

Gordon had been suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy for the past two seasons. He has not played in a regular season game since 2014. He also recently completed a stay in rehab that he has said lasted more than 100 days.

"[I'm] in a good spot. ... I know I have the support in place outside and inside the building," Gordon said. "My life is just in a conducive space of where I need to be for me psychologically, physically. It's all come together. Right now at this point in my life I'm feeling well. I'm feeling great."

Gordon was asked whether he wanted to be back in Cleveland.

"I'm here to help the team win," he said. "That's my first priority. Being the best football player I can be -- that comes first and foremost. Anything else after that I have no control over. I'm here to help this team win and do that the best way I know now. That's being the best wide receiver."

The receiver was last with the Browns in training camp in 2016. He had been suspended the first four games that season, but before he could rejoin the team he departed to go to rehab. In a recent video on the video platform Uninterrupted, he said he hit rock bottom during that time, recounting a night in Gainesville, Florida, that he spent looking for a drug dealer. That led him to rehab, after which the NFL reinstated him conditionally.

Gordon can join the Browns to attend meetings, engage in conditioning work and individual workouts before joining practice Nov. 20. The first game he can play is Dec. 3 in Los Angeles against the Chargers.

"I know I'm clean and sober," Gordon said. "I'm looking forward to that. I think the ceiling is very high."

The 26-year-old said he did not regret what he'd been through, including missing the past two seasons and 11 games in 2014 to suspensions.

"I think that whole experience was definitely fundamental in my growth," he said. "I needed that."

Gordon said he's more prepared to face what's ahead because he has the support he needs as well as self-awareness he had been missing. Gordon's professional goal was clear, but his personal goals, he said, are more day to day.

"Wake up and make sure I can improve somewhere that I feel as though that there's a fault or there's a weakness," he said. "I think that every day there's something else to be worked on, whether it's on the field or outside of here, my relationship with my family, whoever it may be. I always have to continue to check in with myself and take those inventories specifically where I'm at with it today, kind of just practice self-care, so that's what I try to do."

In a recent interview with GQ, Gordon said he drank or took drugs before every NFL game he had ever played. He said he was equally as transparent when he met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

"I'm just trying to be as transparent and as honest as I can be, in a professional way," he said. "And in that platform [GQ], that's the way in which it was conveyed. Trying to do the best I can to control that narrative. For me it's beneficial to get out in front of it and let the rest take its natural course."

Gordon also was critical in GQ of some in Cleveland, whose harassment he said forced him to move to Gainesville.

"That was my truth," he said. "But what was doesn't have to be."

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