Josh Gordon will be given the chance to prove himself again in Cleveland.
That's the indirect word from the Browns, as a statement released by executive vice president Sashi Brown on Monday evening said Gordon will be with the team when training camp opens on Friday.
What it didn't state directly but did imply is that the receiver can re-establish his career in Cleveland.
Though clearly the onus is on him.
The entire statement from Brown:
“With the league’s decision to afford Josh the opportunity to resume his career, he will be with us for the start of training camp. At that time, we will discuss directly with Josh the direction of our team, our expectations of our players and a plan to support him on and off the field.”
The one definite in the statement is that Gordon will be with the team when camp opens. From there, it's pretty much up to him.
The discussion the team will have with Gordon has been spelled out over and over. It remains an important part of the process.
The team wants to sit down with Gordon and find out his emotional and mental state as best it can after Gordon's one-year ban for multiple violations of the NFL and NFLPA's substance abuse policy.
The expectations that will be explained to Gordon will be the team's conditions for his return. The league has some; the Browns will have their own. Off-field nonsense will not be tolerated, new coach Hue Jackson said at the scouting combine. Gordon will have to dedicate himself on the field and to the team, something he didn't do totally when he returned from a 10-game suspension in 2014.
To help Gordon, the team will explain its support plan for him on and off the field. On-the-field support may include attention from coaches, requirements that he meet certain expectations, and production -- in meetings, practice and games. Off the field, there will be league drug tests and counseling, plus any other help or support the team feels necessary.
Gordon is on a one-strike policy with the league; one more failed test and he'll be suspended indefinitely. The Browns will expect Gordon to meet his conditions every day, and contribute to the team while doing so.
It's not easy for a team to bring back a player who has been suspended in each of the last four seasons, and for 27 of the last 32 games. A player who will miss the first four games of the 2016 season. A player who has had a history of struggling with substance abuse dating back to college. A player who failed a test for codeine, who had a DWI, then failed another test or tests that led to his banishment for a year.
It's not easy to take that kind of player back, especially when a team is trying to change the culture in a new era. Bringing Gordon back brings back an immensely talented player, and also some old problems.
It's up to Gordon to show the Browns they were right to give him this chance.
Because if he doesn't, it will not be difficult for the Browns to move on.