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Cleveland Browns planning to release Josh Gordon

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  • By Austin Knoblauch NFL.com
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Josh Gordon's Cleveland Browns comeback appears to be coming to an end.

The Browns intend to release Gordon at some point following Thursday's announcement that the wide receiver is entering an in-patient rehabilitation facility, a source with knowledge of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

The development comes after Browns coach Hue Jackson told reporters that the team was looking ahead without Gordon.

"We wish him well," Jackson said. "We need to close that chapter right now. We're moving on."

The wide receiver announced Thursday that he was entering rehab in an effort to "gain full control of my life." Gordon is eligible to play in the Browns' Week 5 contest against the New England Patriots as part of the terms of his NFL reinstatement for a substance abuse violation. Gordon's decision to enter rehab, however, puts his comeback on hold indefinitely.

"After careful thought and deep consideration I've decided that I need to step away from pursuing my return to the Browns and my football career to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility," Gordon wrote. "This is the right decision for me and one that I hope will enable me to gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person. I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent and the community through this extremely challenging process."

Gordon later elaborated on his statement via his Twitter account:

Sashi Brown, the Browns' executive vice president of football operations, wouldn't comment on Gordon's status within the team.

"We support Josh in taking this step to seek additional help and treatment," Brown wrote in a statement. "His singular focus must be on his own health. We want nothing more than for Josh to be successful personally and professionally and will not comment on his status with the organization at this time."

The 25-year-old pass-catcher was reinstated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in July after failing yet another drug test in March. He was slated to apply for reinstatement on Aug. 1, but Goodell chose to speed up the process. Gordon was initially suspended in February 2015 for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

As part of the terms of his reinstatement, Gordon was allowed to practice with the Browns but was suspended from the team's first four games.

"Our concern is with Josh's well-being," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Rapoport. "We will decline comment on his status with the team."

The oft-banned Gordon hasn't played in a game since December 2014. Gordon was expected to play as a presumptive starter upon his previously anticipated return to game action on Oct. 9. He's just three years removed from leading the NFL in receiving yards despite playing just 14 games in 2013.

Prior to Gordon's reinstatement, the Browns contacted teams about a potential trade involving the former All-Pro selection, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The Browns were seeking a "second-round pick and then some" for Gordon, Garafolo added. The news prompted Gordon to reaffirm his commitment to the team.

"Cleveland is my team. That's where I want to be," Gordon said. "I'm happy to be with Cleveland."

Cleveland is 0-3 to start the season and rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman will be sidelined the next three to five weeks because of a broken hand. It appears the Browns will have to wait a little longer before adding some much-needed veteran help to their young receiving corps.

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