Josh Gordon kept his word and ‘‘humbly’’ returned to the Cleveland Browns. All they can do is hope he stays clean.
The former Pro Bowl wide receiver, who has battled drug and alcohol dependence for much of his life, on Saturday ended an extended absence from training camp to deal with his health and returned to the team.
Gordon has missed most of the last four seasons because of numerous violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, derailing a promising career.
He’s back, but the Browns can’t guarantee it will last.
‘‘I’m confident that he’s here and I think that’s the most important part,’’ coach Hue Jackson said on Saturday. ‘‘How long he stays, only Josh knows that, but I think he’s in a much better place . . . I never lost trust in him.’’
Gordon stepped away to focus on his health just before camp opened last month. He remained in contact with Jackson and a few teammates and promised to come back when he felt ready.
The 27-year-old posted a statement on Twitter addressed to ‘‘Cleveland Browns and NFL family,’’ saying it was time.
‘‘I took the time needed to ensure my overall mental and physical health,’’ Gordon said. ‘‘This has by no means been an easy road and I’m extremely grateful to have all of you in my life. As I humbly return to being a member of this team with an opportunity to get back to playing this game I love, I realize in order for me to reach my full potential my primary focus must remain on my sobriety and mental well-being.
‘‘Let’s get to work! Much love, JG.’’
Gordon, who has missed 54 of Cleveland’s last 64 games, is not facing another suspension but he’s limited during the initial stages of his return.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Gordon can participate in meetings and conditioning.
‘‘He cannot practice but may watch,’’ he said in an e-mail to the AP. ‘‘No timetable on next steps.’’
AJ McCarron sustained a hairline fracture to his collarbone — throwing the Bills’ three-way quarterback race into chaos — during a 19-17 win over the Browns Friday night. There is no timetable for his return. McCarron, who signed with Buffalo as a free agent for a chance to start after four years as a backup in Cincinnati, didn’t show any obvious signs of being hurt while he was on the field. He was hit hard from behind by Myles Garrett, and also sacked by Larry Ogunjobi. McCarron is battling rookie Josh Allen and Nathan Peterman for the starting job . . . Paul Naumoff, a former Pro Bowl linebacker who spent 12 seasons with the Lions, has died. He was 73.