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Josh Gordon aiming for Week 1 return to field

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When the Cleveland Browns acquired Jarvis Landry via offseason trade, fans of the franchise fell into a fever dream of sorts.

Landry and Josh Gordon, lining up for the same team? Mouths started watering across Northeast Ohio.

But that was put on hold when Josh Gordon didn't arrive for camp, instead taking nearly a month to focus on personal issues related to his health and well-being. Now back in Berea, Ohio, for preseason activities, Gordon was asked Monday about the reasons for his absence. He wisely chose to keep the subject on football-related matters.

"As it relates to football, I'm doing well," Gordon said. "I'm glad I was able to have the opportunity. Good to be here and I feel grateful for the opportunity to have the chance to come back out here, be with my teammates and enjoy this beautiful atmosphere."

Included in those matters is when Gordon might actually return to full availability. He was removed from the non-football injury list Saturday, clearing him for full participation in football activities, including games. He won't play in Cleveland's final preseason game, but revealed his target Monday.

"Week 1, regular season. That is my focus," Gordon told reporters. "It is. That's what I've been told to do. That's what I plan on doing."

Browns coach Hue Jackson said even if fully healthy, Gordon won't start in Cleveland's Week 1 contest against Pittsburgh. That doesn't exclude Gordon from stepping onto the field on the second series (or play), though.

But he'll have to be in shape, with a small window to work his way to that level of conditioning, as well as become physically acclimated to the daily rigors of football. A blanket phrase for it is to knock the rust off. Might he need a game to do so?

In a word, no.

"These nice football fields back here is where all the rust needs to get shaken out at," Gordon said.

At this point, as long as Gordon remains healthy (he's been dealing with tight hamstrings), the rest of what we hear about him is largely inconsequential. If healthy and in shape come Week 1 and beyond, he figures to be an important contributor. Most of the questions have now been answered.

A new episode of Hard Knocks arrives Tuesday, too, meaning we're almost guaranteed to get an even closer look at Gordon's reacclimation with the Browns before the regular season arrives.

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