Cleveland Browns: Don’t read too much into Josh Gordon not starting

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 17: Josh Gordon /

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson reiterated that wide receiver Josh Gordon will not start Sunday against Pittsburgh, but that’s not really important

Sunday will kick off the regular season for the Cleveland Browns as they face an AFC North rival in the Pittsburgh Steelers. One of the bigger storylines for Cleveland leading up to this game has been the availability of wide receiver Josh Gordon.

The explosive pass catcher has spent much of his career trying to get on the right path and has dealt with many suspensions since being selected in the 2012 NFL Supplemental draft.

All offseason things seemed fine with Gordon, then he suddenly announced he would not be at training camp as he dealt with concerns over personal mental well being. Near the end of the preseason, Gordon returned and has started practicing with the club.

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All that’s great news, and Gordon is set to play in the opener. He isn’t going to start though according to head coach Hue Jackson — who instead says rookie Antonio Callaway will have that luxury.

For anyone ready for big things out of Gordon, don’t let this dampen your hopes. The starting status of a wide receiver means practically nothing. For anyone thinking it’s an indication he’s not ready, he is.

Just look to 2017 for an example. Gordon went 1,077 days without playing in an NFL according to Mary Kay Cabot before hitting the field when Cleveland took on the Los Angeles Chargers last season. Flash caught a pass on the first play of the game and finished with 85 yards off four receptions.

Conditioning is not a concern — as he’s probably in better shape than the majority of his teammates judging by looks of course. Also not a concern, is his talent.

Gordon is still the same guy who dominated the NFL in 2013 and the Browns won’t keep him off the field long, even if he isn’t starting. Look for him to sub in early, and rarely leave the field.

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The Browns know what they have in Gordon — a matchup nightmare for opponents — and they’ll make sure he’s on the field plenty this Sunday. Even if they want to make him come off the bench.