BEREA — Josh Gordon’s recent stint in a rehab facility was welcome news to cornerback and friend Joe Haden.
“I’m happy for him. I’m here for J.G. I love him like a brother,” Haden said Friday. “We’re here for support, and for him to do that, that’s a big step. That means he knows something’s going on and he’s trying to fix a problem.”
Gordon, who’s facing a suspension for reportedly failing a drug test, reported to training camp and passed the conditioning test Friday.
Gordon’s appeal of the suspension is reportedly set for Aug. 1 in New York. He faces the possibility of an indefinite suspension, but hopes it will be reduced to less than a season.
Gordon has other issues to deal with. He was arrested for DWI in North Carolina earlier this month, then reportedly spent two weeks in a rehab facility in California.
He failed multiple marijuana tests in college, was dismissed from the teams at Baylor and Utah and was suspended for the first two games of last season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
“I’ve reached out to him and I’ll keep that interaction between he and I,” quarterback Brian Hoyer said. “We’re here to support him and it’s a tough time that he’s going through and everything I can do I’ve offered that to him.”
“We welcomed all of our players back. Josh, in particular, was good to see him out there running,” coach Mike Pettine said.
Training camp officially opens this morning with practice. Pettine said Gordon’s status will be treated as “business as usual” until something changes, meaning he’ll participate as he awaits the hearing.
OUT OF GAS
Defensive lineman Phil Taylor and tight end Gary Barnidge were the only veterans who didn’t finish the conditioning test, a series of about 20 timed sprints.
Taylor was laboring in the final couple he finished, then elected to stop. Barnidge looked bothered by the heat and was helped off by trainers. Pettine said Barnidge will be fine.
Those who don’t finish the test will be given another chance this morning. If they don’t pass, they will likely be placed on the non-football injury list. They can be activated at anytime.
The linemen ran 40-yard sprints, the linebackers and tight ends 50 yards and the defensive backs and receivers 60 yards.
Strong safety Donte Whitner somersaulted across the goal line to finish the test, then was tended to by trainers, who tried to cool him down and then helped him into the facility. He tweeted he had cramps.
Cornerback Buster Skrine and defensive end Armonty Bryant were the leaders in their respective groups.
The rookies, quarterbacks and injured players reported Wednesday and took their conditioning tests.
Rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel is thrilled friend and business associate LeBron James decided to come back to the Cavaliers.
“Obviously, I think it’s great for this city. I think it’s great for the Cavs. I think it’s great for me,” Manziel said. “It’s obviously a very good friend of mine, now moving forward pretty much a business partner of mine. I’ve exchanged texts back and forth and him being in the area, right down the road, definitely excites me.
“It’s going to be awesome to go to Cavs games and watch him play, the best basketball player in the world play, so I’m very excited and excited he can come watch us play and be involved with this program again like he was before. More than anything, I’m happy for him and his family and being able to come back home and he loves it here.”
Manziel’s marketing firm is LRMR, which is run by James and his associates.
WESTERMAN IN FOLD
The Browns made official the signing of outside linebacker Jamaal Westerman. His agent tweeted the impending move Thursday.
Westerman (6-2, 257) is entering his sixth season out of Rutgers. He’s appeared in 58 games with three starts, totaling 35 tackles, six sacks, four fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. He has 27 special teams tackles.
Westerman was with the Jets from 2009-11. Pettine was defensive coordinator for all three seasons.
- The Browns will practice in pads for the first time Monday, the first day permitted under the collective bargaining agreement. Pettine said the players would be in pads just about every day after, except for the practice before a preseason game.
- Pettine said the Browns would do full tackling during short-yardage drills and during the scrimmage in Akron on Aug. 2. Otherwise the goal is to keep players off the ground.
- Pettine said no one will start camp on the physically unable to perform list.
- NFL Network will have live coverage of today’s practice starting at 9:30.