BEREA, Ohio -- With the trade deadline looming Tuesday, rumors continue to swirl around Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, despite denials by coach Rob Chudzinski.
Right or wrong, that is what he must say at this point, so there is not telling.
Gordon's value increased Sunday in a 23-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs when he caught five passes for 132 yards with a touchdown.
Gordon has 32 catches in six games for 582 yards with three touchdowns. He missed the first two games of 2013 serving a two-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. There's the rub.
Chudzinski on Monday said Gordon is not being shopped. Gordon takes Chudzinski at his word, but he says he believes a trade could still be made before 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. He admits the rumors have been a distraction, but they did not seem to bother him Sunday.
"I would hope not but I'm realistic to know that it does (bother Gordon)," offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. "He's a young guy; he's not very experienced. He wasn't the go-to guy as a young player so this is all a new thing for him. I think when you add those things to it, it can affect him. Obviously, we're doing our best to focus and let him understand that he's our guy and we want him to be as good as he can get."
Gordon is one violation from a year-long suspension. If he had a clean record, the Browns might never think of trading him. On the other hand, a team willing to deal for him might be unwilling to pay the price the Browns want, knowing they might be trading a high draft pick and get nothing in return.
"I do want to stay in Cleveland," Gordon said. "Cleveland is my first home, the team I was drafted to. It's a great place to be. I love the fans in Cleveland and everything about it. But business is business."
The Gordon rumors started around the time the Browns traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round draft pick on Sept. 18. It seemed at the time the Browns were giving up on the season after just two games, both losses. But then they won three straight. Since then, they have lost three straight to slip to 3-5, three full games behind the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.
Gordon caught 50 passes for 805 yards with five touchdowns last season. He is well on his way to besting those numbers despite missing two games.
---Wide receiver and punt returner Travis Benjamin will undergo surgery for a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season.
Benjamin was injured with 2:34 left in the third quarter against the Chiefs. He is one of the Browns' most explosive players on offense and special teams.
Chudzinski said the injury took place when Benjamin planted and twisted as he headed upfield. Benjamin averaged 11.7 yards per punt return and scored on a 79-yarder against the Buffalo Bills when he set a team record with 179 yards in returns.
"Travis obviously is a big part of what we do and has been in terms of return game," Chudzinski said Monday. "He's explosive and has the speed and ability to make a big play."
--Quarterback Jason Campbell played well in his first start with the Browns on Sunday, albeit in a losing effort. The Chiefs entered the game with 35 sacks. Campbell was nimble enough to avoid the rush most of the day. He was sacked only once while becoming the third quarterback in four games to start for the Browns. He completed 22 of 36 passes for 293 yards and posted a 105.4 passer rating.
Campbell will start at quarterback vs. the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Chudzinski announced.