NEW ORLEANS, La. – In a surprise move, Browns star receiver Josh Gordon was ruled out of the Saints game with a hamstring injury on Saturday afternoon, just before the Browns’ flight left Cleveland.
Gordon, who was not listed on the injury report all week including Friday, arrived at the Browns facility on Saturday morning for the trip to New Orleans complaining about his hamstring, and the medical staff checked him out. It was determined that he couldn’t play, and he was kept home from the trip.
In the early part of practice open to the media on Friday, Gordon, had his hamstring stretched for a long time by trainers while other players were warming up.
He then joined his fellow receivers and caught passes from the quarterbacks, including a number of them in which he fell to the ground after making the grab just inches inside the end zone.
Gordon missing the game would be equivalent to Pro Bowler Michael Thomas sitting out for the Saints.
In other injury news, starting linebacker Christian Kirksey, who was listed as questionable, was also ruled out with his shoulder and ankle injuries, and tight end Seth DeValve was ruled out with a hamstring. DeValve, who had just worked his way back from a quad injury to play in the opening-day 21-21 tie with the Steelers, was also not listed on the injury report this week.
It marks the first game Kirksey will miss since being drafted in the third round of the 2014 draft, a stretch of 65 straight games.
Gordon returned to the Browns on Aug. 18 after spending an extended period of time in treatment at the University of Florida. He missed a few days of practice with the hamstring injury after he was cleared for all football activity on Aug. 25, but was full-go in the days leading up to the Saints game.
Gordon became a big story in the opener because he was on the field for the first play of the game after coach Hue Jackson adamantly stated he wouldn’t start. The thinking behind it was that the other receivers had been here all along and deserved the opportunity to start the game.
But offensive Todd Haley opted to open with a one-receiver, three tight-end package, and trotted Gordon out there as the lone wideout.
It was a moved that surprised even Gordon, and left Jackson miffed. Gordon was taken out for the rest of that series and the next, before Jackson gave him the okay to go back on the third.
After the game, Jackson acknowledged that he didn’t know it was happening until he saw it, and the next day, he attributed it to “a mistake” and “a miscommunication” between him and Haley. He stressed that the two worked through it and moved on.
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