Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, in his first live NFL action since Week 15 of the 2014 season, seemed to be in midseason form in the preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night.
Gordon caught a 44-yard pass down the right sideline from Robert Griffin III on the Browns' second play of the game and a 43-yard touchdown in the second quarter in the 30-13 loss to the Bucs. The two catches were Gordon's only two targets.
"It feels great," Gordon said after the game. "I feel really good to be out there with my teammates, my brothers. It was uplifting.
"I feel it gave me a boost, gave the team a boost. Get that experience again, get that feeling again what it feels like to make a big play, but it was great. Uplifting for the team and something that we needed at that point and something we could build on going into next week."
Gordon had been suspended indefinitely by the NFL since February 2015 without pay for multiple violations of the NFL-NFLPA Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
Friday's game was Gordon's first since Dec. 21, 2014. He was suspended 10 games in 2014 and all of last season.
Gordon was reinstated on July 25 by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell but he will be suspended for the first four games of the regular season. He missed the first two preseason games with a quadriceps injury.
"He did (provide hope)," Browns coach Hue Jackson said of Gordon. "He made a tremendous play. It was good just to get him back out there in the game and playing. He did some good things. There are some things we'll continue to improve on with him, but I thought it was a good start for him."
Griffin completed 8 of 14 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown.
"I've just got to do a better job of getting the ball to (the other receivers) and just getting the ball out of my hands and allowing them to make plays," Griffin said after the game. "So that all starts with me. I have to go out there and be consistent for my team to be consistent."