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BREAKING: Browns WR Josh Gordon stepping away from football to enter in-patient rehab

NFL: Preseason-Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

You can deflate the balloon of excitement when it comes to anticipating the return of Josh Gordon. In stunning news Thursday evening, the Cleveland Browns receiver released a statement that he is stepping away from football to enter in-patient rehab. Gordon had been set to return to the Browns in Week 5 against the New England Patriots after nearly a year and a half absence from regular season action.

It’s easy to speculate that Gordon has failed another test of some sort and is just getting out in front of this from a public relations standpoint. However, we’ll wait until further news is known. Here are the statements released by both Gordon and the organization:

Statement from Josh Gordon

“After careful thought and deep consideration I’ve decided that I need to step away from pursuing my return to the Browns and my football career to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility. This is the right decision for me and one that I hope will enable me to gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person. I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent and the community through this extremely challenging process.”

Statement from Executive VP of Football Operations Sashi Brown on Josh Gordon

“We support Josh in taking this step to seek additional help and treatment. His singular focus must be on his own health. We want nothing more than for Josh to be successful personally and professionally and will not comment on his status with the organization at this time.”

UPDATE: A little after 6:00 PM, Gordon tweeted the following semi-cryptic messages: