Rookie receiver Gordon flashing for Browns

Rookie receiver Gordon flashing for Browns

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Slightly sunburned and plenty relaxed from a summer excursion through the Caribbean with his wife, offensive coordinator Brad Childress returned home to learn the Browns had a new player.

While Childress was chilling, Cleveland selected wide receiver Josh Gordon in the NFL's supplemental draft.

The name didn't ring a bell.

``I got off a cruise boat and somebody said, `We signed Josh Gordon,''' Childress said. ``I said, `Who's Josh Gordon?' Honestly.''

Childress now knows Gordon well.

The rest of the league is quickly finding out about him, too.

With three touchdowns - two on passes over 60 yards - in the past two games, Gordon is becoming the big, play-making wide receiver the Browns have craved. At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, the faster-than-he-looks Gordon has the physical makeup to be a star. It's up to the 21-year-old rookie, who was asked to leave Baylor after twice testing positive for marijuana, to make it happen.

``He can be tremendous,'' Browns tight end Benjamin Watson said. ``He can make all the catches. He's fast. He's strong. The biggest thing with him or any young player is being consistent and learning how to practice. He can be as good as he wants to be. He just needs to improve on his weaknesses and he doesn't have many.''

After catching seven passes in his first four games, Gordon has busted out the past two weeks.

He ran past New York's secondary and hauled in a 62-yard pass against the Giants for his first career touchdown on Oct. 7. He added a 20-yard TD in the fourth quarter. Last week against Cincinnati, Gordon hooked up for a 71-yard score, snagging rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden's wind-blown throw with one hand before racing to the end zone.

Those big plays have boosted Gordon's confidence. He was way behind when he joined the Browns because he sat out a full season after transferring from Baylor to Utah.

He's literally catching on.

``It's done a great deal just helping me gain confidence,'' he said after practice Thursday. ``More trust in the offense, the team, the coaches, the quarterback, myself, just being real confident in knowing I can go out there and make plays.''

Gordon nodded and smiled when told Childress didn't know who he was when the Browns took him in the second round of July's supplemental draft, forfeiting a second-round pick in next year's draft to get him.

``I believe it,'' Gordon said. ``A lot of people really didn't. But now that I'm here, I definitely want to make a name for myself.''

Gordon's evolution as a downfield target has given Cleveland's offense a much-needed shot in the arm.

The Browns' lack of a deep threat has allowed defenses to cram the line of scrimmage and shut down the run. It's tough to break off a long gain with 22 players crammed inside a 10-yard box. Gordon, though, brings speed and quick-strike potential that teams have to honor, opening the field for the Browns - and expanding Childress' playbook.

Gordon's long TDs the past two weeks will make defenses wary.

``The fact that he's gotten behind some people and done it twice now,'' Childress said. ``That won't happen all the time. Defenses are set up not to let you do that. They will be much more mindful of where he's at. It helps you take the top of things and move people away from the line of scrimmage and make them play you with a deep threat.''

Gordon has seen mostly one-on-one coverage. If he continues to make big plays, he could force teams to double-team him, which could open things up for his teammates. It hasn't gotten to that point yet, but Gordon believes it it's just a matter of time before Cleveland's No. 13 is getting extra attention.

And if he doesn't?

``Hey, it's better for us,'' he said.

Because of his off-the-field troubles in college, Gordon came to the Browns as a player who had a lot to learn, and a lot to prove. He came with the label of a problem child, but Gordon has been a model citizen and is beginning to understand what it takes to be a pro.

It's taken a little longer than some expected, but Gordon is beginning to shine.

``I think the light is going on,'' Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. ``He's making improvements. I made that comment based on what I see all week long, based on how I see him function in the building, based on the way I see him function in meetings and then how he's practicing more up to mine and our standards.''

Gordon knows his past hurt his stock, and he understands why he would have been unknown to Childress.

``I was sitting out a whole year of college, I fell off the radar and I'm a long ways from where I was so I'm not surprised,'' he said. ``But now that I've gotten my opportunity, I definitely want to come out and make a name for myself.

``Hopefully we can go back and laugh at it later.''

NOTES: WR Greg Little was sent home with flu-like symptoms and missed practice. ... Shurmur expects RB Trent Richardson to play Sunday against the Colts. Richardson will wear a flak jacket to protecting a rib injury. ... Browns G Jason Pinkston also missed practice with an undisclosed illness. ... WR Travis Benjamin expects to dress this week after missing two games with a hamstring injury.


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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.


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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising.