Cleveland — Every day he stays committed and sober, Josh Gordon takes another step toward playing again in the NFL.
The long walk and wait are nearly over.
The wide receiver, who squandered millions in potential earnings and derailed a promising career because of substance abuse, will practice with the Browns today for the first time in 14 months — a return that once seemed unimaginable.
Gordon was recently reinstated on a conditional basis by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being suspended for the past two seasons. So far, he has fulfilled every requirement placed on him by Goodell, and on Monday he threw with Cleveland’s quarterbacks.
Gordon, who has been suspended for the Browns’ past 43 games and 53 of 58, has impressed teammates with his attitude since rejoining the team on Nov. 7. He’s been working out under the team’s guidance, and on Sunday he was on the sideline when the winless Browns lost to Jacksonville.
“First and foremost, I’m just happy for him,” guard Joel Bitonio said. “I think he’s in a good place. You can kind of tell that he’s just mentally refreshed almost. He’s been away from the game and I think it was a little humbling for him.”
Gordon was poised to make a comeback last year, but after spending training camp with the Browns and playing in the exhibition season, he checked himself into a rehab facility.
One of the worries about Gordon is he will relapse, but coach Hue Jackson believes the Browns have a strong support system in place to aid him inside and outside the team’s facility.
“Josh knows that we’re always available to him,” Jackson said.
As long as Gordon abides by the league’s guidelines — he’s subject to random drug testing — Gordon will be eligible to play on Dec. 3 when the Browns visit the Los Angeles Chargers.
Gordon hasn’t played in a regular season game since Dec. 21, 2014.
Washington has lost left guard Shawn Lauvao and center Spencer Long for the season.
Long needs surgery on a quadriceps tendon and will be headed to injured reserve. Lauvao will join him there because of a stinger.
... The Raiders fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. in a staff shake-up during a disappointing season.
Coach Jack Del Rio made the announcement Norton will be let go and assistant John Pagano will step into the coordinator role leading up to this week’s home game against the Broncos.
Norton was in his third season as coordinator for the Raiders.