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Monday, May 12, 2014
Pettine: Not the time to panic about receiver

By Pat McManamon

AURORA, Ohio -- Monday was coach Mike Pettine's turn to calm the frayed nerves of Cleveland Browns fans.

"We do have a plan," Pettine said about the team's receiver situation.

He would not detail the plan or hint at it, but he confidently stated the team has a plan to address a perceived need at receiver for the Browns.

The talk about the spot has raged in Cleveland since the report broke that Josh Gordon would miss the season due to a failed drug test, a report Pettine could not address specifically. But he did address the receiver position, and the fact that the Browns did not draft a receiver even though they were aware of Gordon's failed test, as reported by "Outside the Lines."

"This situation didn't call for panic," Pettine said.

Which is always a positive.

Gordon's teammates expressed strong hope that Gordon still can play. All admitted losing him would be a serious blow.

"He is a key player to us," linebacker Jabaal Sheard said. "It's important that we have him. Hopefully that's not the situation."

"He's a great player, that's the bottom line," linebacker Paul Kruger said. "One of the best receivers in the league."

Pettine, though, echoed the thoughts of GM Ray Farmer, who said the Browns have to be a team that can withstand the loss of a player.

"Losing players for extended periods of time is part of the game," Pettine said. "Successful franchises are the ones with enough depth built and enough options scheme-wise, coaching-wise to account for it."

The issue is what happens when the Browns lose this particular player, as it certainly seems they will. Players leaned on the "next man up" theory, and said they believe they still can win.

Depending on what happens, tight end Jordan Cameron could be most affected by Gordon's absence.

"You have to pay extra special attention to [Gordon] when he's out there," Cameron said. "Obviously that takes eyes off of me. But I feel like [offensive coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] will figure out a way to make things happen. He'll find ways to get guys the ball and be creative."