By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Wrier
CLEVELAND (AP) – Josh Gordon’s strange, stuttering career will start anew in New England.
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 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.”
Gordon’s tantalizing talent had caused the Browns to hang onto him while he dealt with drug and alcohol dependence. He missed training camp to receive treatment and the Browns were cautiously optimistic he would help them this season.
But he again let them down, and Jackson acknowledged the separation was necessary.
“I hate to determine it a relief,” Jackson said. “I’m glad there is closure. I’m glad that we’re not in a space where we’re thinking about those things: What could be. What could not be and that we’re coaching the guys that are here.”
His former Cleveland teammate Corey Coleman – who had his own issues with the Browns before being traded last month to Buffalo, cut and then signing with the Patriots – was released by New England to make room for Gordon.
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