December 18, 2014

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Browns notes: Wide receiver Josh Gordon shining

BEREA — Wide receiver Josh Gordon had a stack of 15 tickets in his left hand and a smile on his face as he exited the Browns locker room on Thursday afternoon.

Before leaving, though, the rookie from Baylor made it clear that he expects to have a great day Sunday when Cleveland plays Dallas at Cowboys Stadium.

“I’ve got 15 people — my family and friends — coming to the game, since it’s only a four-hour drive from home,” said Gordon, who played football, basketball and track at Houston’s Lamar High.

“It’s definitely going to be an exciting experience for me to see everybody and be back in Texas. This is something I’ve been looking forward to for a while.”

Gordon’s homecoming also has drawn interest from Dallas’ beat reporters, who requested that he conduct the Browns’ visiting team conference call. It marked his first such assignment since being chosen in the second round of the NFL Supplemental Draft.

Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson — fellow rookies — have been chosen three times by opposing teams’ media members, while tackle Joe Thomas, defensive end Frostee Rucker and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson have phoned it in once apiece.

“It definitely was special to share a few words with people from my home state,” said Gordon, whose checkered college career included a two-year stay at Baylor. “It’s an honor and I appreciate their interest in me. Hopefully I can play well for everyone this week.”

Gordon leads the Browns with 417 receiving yards, four touchdowns and a 21.9-yard average per catch, but has been plagued by dropped passes throughout his initial pro season, including a game-costing miscue at Indianapolis on Oct. 21.

Yet, because of his size, speed and playmaking ability, the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder said coach Pat Shurmur has given him a bigger role in the offense going forward.

“When we had a lot of receivers out with injuries, I had to step up and make plays,” Gordon said. “I guess the coaches feel like I can do that for the rest of the season because I’m a little more involved with the game plan after the bye.”

Injury update

Browns cornerbacks Joe Haden (oblique) and Dimitri Patterson (left high ankle sprain) did not practice, while defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (calf) and safety Ray Ventrone (hand, calf) were limited.

Full participants were wide receivers Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), Joshua Cribbs (wrist) and Josh Cooper (illness); defensive tackle Phil Taylor (chest, ankle, illness); defensive end Frostee Rucker (shoulder, illness); linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (calf); running back Trent Richardson (chest, rib, finger); quarterback Brandon Weeden (groin, thigh); safety T.J. Ward (hand); and cornerback Buster Skrine (ankle).

Shurmur said Massaquoi “practiced well,” but again would not commit to him being active in Dallas. The coach did say it was unlikely that all six wideouts would be in uniform, likely meaning Massaquoi or Cooper will be a game day inactive.

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (foot), safety Matt Johnson (hamstring); cornerback Mike Jenkins (back), defensive tackle Sean Lissemore (ankle), and centers Ryan Cook (knee) and Phil Costa (ankle) did not practice.

Former Browns fullback Lawrence Vickers (knee) and tight end John Phillips (ankle) were limited, while linebacker Dan Connor (neck) and nose tackle Jay Ratliff (ankle) took part in all team activities.

View from the booth

Popular color commentator Dan Dierdorf will be behind the mic for CBS, along with play-by-play voice Greg Gumbel, at the Browns/Cowboys game.

The longtime NFL offensive lineman offered some words of warning to Dallas boosters expecting an easy victory.

“The Browns at 2-7 may not concern the casual football fan, but they really are better than a two-win football team,” Dierdorf said. “They are going to rain on a few parades in November and December, and this is not going to be a stroll through the park.

“Cleveland has playmakers and is a hard-hitting physical team and they don’t roll over for anybody. They don’t have anything to lose. They have no pressure on them. And sometimes, that is when it is easiest to play good football.”

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.