CLEVELAND — Josh Gordon’s strange, stuttering career will start anew in New England.
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have a new offensive toy.
The Browns severed ties for good with the problematic wide receiver by trading him to the Patriots for a fifth-round draft pick on Monday, ending a relationship the team did all it could to save.
The deal came together two days after the Browns reached a breaking point with Gordon, who has been suspended numerous times by the NFL for drug violations since Cleveland drafted him in 2012.
Gordon played in the Browns’ season opener against Pittsburgh, but he reported to the team on Saturday with a unexplained hamstring injury after practicing all week. The Browns decided to leave him behind when they traveled to New Orleans, and later said they intended to release him.
However, Cleveland general manager John Dorsey found there was a crowded market for him and worked out the swap with New England.
The Browns have been supportive of Gordon, but the team felt betrayed and decided it was time to move on.
“We’ve done all we can do for Josh,” said coach Hue Jackson, who didn’t provide any specifics about Gordon’s issues over the weekend. “We tried to provide the right environment. It just didn’t work out. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery and hopefully things work out for Josh.”
DeSean Jackson surpising Bucs with blazing start
TAMPA, Fla. — Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t the only reason the surprising Tampa Bay Buccaneers are off to their fastest start in eight years.
Speedy receiver DeSean Jackson is making a difference, too, finally beginning to deliver what the team has been expecting since signing him in free agency before last season.
Fitzpatrick has thrown for 819 yards and eight touchdowns in victories over New Orleans and defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia the past two weeks. Jackson has a pair of 100-yard games receiving and three TDs — two of them on plays of 50-plus yards.
“It’s unbelievable. He’s playing out of this world right now,” said Jackson, who scored on a 75-yard reception of the first play of scrimmage in Sunday’s 27-21 win over the Eagles.
“He’s in his prime,” the 31-year-old receiver added of the 35-year-old quarterback who’s filling in for suspended starter Jameis Winston. “Us old guys, we are in our prime. He’s playing like he’s 28 and I’m playing like I’m 24. So as long as we keep doing that, it’s going to be a good year.”
Carson Wentz cleared to return for Eagles
Carson Wentz has been cleared to return and is slated to start for the Philadelphia Eagles against Indianapolis in Week 3.
“I was impressed with how well he attacked his rehab throughout the offseason,” coach Doug Pederson said Monday. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and he’s ready to go.”
Wentz tore his left ACL and LCL on Dec. 10, 2017 in a game against the Los Angeles Rams and had surgery three days later. Backup quarterback Nick Foles led the Eagles to their first NFL title since 1960 and was Super Bowl MVP in the 41-33 victory over New England.
Foles embraced his role from the start and wanted to return to the Eagles this season instead of seeking a starting opportunity elsewhere.
“The greatest thing for me is that (quarterback) room has no egos,” Pederson said. “Nick all along has understood that this is Carson’s football team. We owe a lot of gratitude to Nick Foles for what he’s done and how he’s led this team. He’s very supportive.”
Bengals will try to extend surge without RB Joe Mixon
CINCINNATI — Joe Mixon’s chair was upside-down in his locker on Monday, a reminder that the Cincinnati Bengals are moving ahead without the running back who’s been a key part of their 2-0 start.
Mixon had debris removed from his right knee over the weekend and is expected to be sidelined for a few games. In the interim, the AFC North leaders will lean more heavily on Giovani Bernard and Tra Carson, who hasn’t carried the ball in an NFL game.
Mixon got hurt during a 34-23 win over the Ravens on Thursday night at Paul Brown Stadium, going in-and-out of the game. An exam found a piece of debris that was removed. Mixon’s agent said he could return within two weeks.
“I think between Gio and Tra, we will find a way, I hope,” offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said Monday.”