"It's important for him to be with the ones," coach Hue Jackson said. "Because I think he's going to be one of our better players. So we got to put him out there and see what he's capable of doing."
Gordon will be suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season, so Jackson has a balancing act in terms of preparing Gordon for when he returns while giving practice time to those who will be available for the first month.
In Sunday's work, Gordon took part in three series with the starters.
"I think what's important is that I don't really know him yet as football player," Jackson said. "I'm learning, and I need to see what he's able to do. He's talented, obviously. He has a lot of talent."
Jackson's statement shows the confidence he has in Gordon's return. He led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards in the 2013 season, but he was suspended for 27 of the next 32 games.
Jackson said he wants to be sure that Gordon will be ready to face New England in Week 5 on Oct. 9, the same game Tom Brady returns from a four-game suspension.
Brady cannot be around the team during his suspension, but Gordon will be permitted to be in the building and attend meetings. Gordon will not be able to practice, though.
"The more I can see him and feel him before -- because he will be away and not able to do that -- the more I can understand when he gets back," Jackson said, "and he can hit the ground running right way."