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Josh Gordon: ‘It’s crazy to think’ he’ll play harder with Johnny Manziel at QB

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Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon vigorously disputed the notion that he will give a better all-out effort in games now that Johnny Manziel has replaced the struggling Brian Hoyer at starting quarterback.

Manziel will get his first NFL start on Sunday in a showdown with AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals, and Gordon wanted no part of the speculation that he wasn’t giving 100 percent with Hoyer under center.

“There’s no reason why I would even think to do something like that,” said Gordon, via a report from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot. “It’s like trying to throw a game on purpose. Nobody wants to do that — no matter if you like a guy or you don’t like a guy. I love Brian. He’s been here since I first got here just about. He was my quarterback last year. He’s a competitor, I had nothing wrong with him, and I never even played with Johnny before — so that’s crazy to think that.”

Gordon dropped a deep pass from Hoyer in the waning moments of Cleveland’s 25-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Had he made the reception, the Browns would have been in position for a game-winning field goal.

In his three games back after serving his suspension, has caught 17 balls on 36 targets for 210 yards — although no touchdowns — indicating that Hoyer was trying to get the ball into the hands of the team’s top offensive talent.

Hoyer also indicated that his relationship with Gordon is fine.

“Yeah, Josh and I have a good relationship,” said Hoyer. “Just this past Saturday, after our meeting I sat down with him. We went over every play that he hadn’t practiced. I think the thing with Josh is just the lack of repetition and not being able to be around. I don’t think that he’s not playing as hard for me as he will on Sunday.”

Hoyer did admit that Gordon’s lengthy absence did create a situation where the team had to figure out a way to work the talented wide receiver into the flow of the offense.

“It’s just taking him time to catch up to where everybody else is, and unfortunately we’re going through that in games,” he said. “It’s not just in practice or in OTAs or training camp and that type of thing. I don’t think there’s any merit to any of that.”

Gordon has admitted that he felt somewhat alienated by some members of the Browns organization upon his return from suspension, although there is no indication Hoyer was among those individuals.

Despite his insistence that there will be no change in his effort level with Manziel at quarterback, Gordon did admit that putting in the rookie signal-caller could cure what has been ailing the Browns’ under-performing offense.

“I think it can be,” he said. “It’s just a different look, a totally different look. You don’t know what to expect. Everybody’s ready, everybody’s hot out there, the backside of a play is not a frontside of a play. You know, you can never tell.”

(photo credit: John Kuntz/The Plain Dealer)