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Browns reportedly parted ways with Gordon because he wasn't in 'football shape'

John Tomase
September 20, 2018 - 3:44 pm

Forget about drugs, alcohol, or photoshoots. The final straw for the Cleveland Browns, according to one NFL insider, was Josh Gordon's lack of football shape.

Appearing on NBC Sports Boston, Sports Illustrated writer Albert Breer broke down what finally pushed the Browns over the edge before trading the mercurial wideout to the Patriots on Monday.

"The Browns had gotten frustrated with him, and it wasn't just the hamstring or what happened last weekend. It was also the fact that he had trouble getting himself into football shape," Breer said, courtesy "I think a lot of people look at him and see he's all rocked up, and by human standards he's in great shape — not the same thing as being in football shape."

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Gordon is a physical marvel, but he hasn't produced in the NFL since a breakout 2013 season that saw him lead the league in receiving yards. He has only played in 11 games since that campaign, and in Cleveland's opener against the Steelers he caught just one pass for a 17-yard touchdown in 69 snaps.

"My understanding is part of the reason they put him out there for that long was to show him, 'Hey, look, you may think you're in great shape, but being in football shape is something different,'" Breer said. "And so if you watch the game, he wore down a bit at the end, and that's something they didn't experience at practice."