-- BEREA, Ohio -- Josh Gordon felt some in the Cleveland Browns organization kept him at arm's length during his 10-game suspension, the wide receiver told NFL Network in an interview that will air Sunday morning.
"The lowest point of all this I think was the disassociation from a lot of friends you thought were close or you thought you were kind of cool with really not checking on you anymore, [not] hitting you up anymore, [not] wanting to hang out," Gordon told former teammate Nate Burleson, who spent training camp with the Browns. "As far as even people in here [with the Browns]. I don't want to throw names around, but I can see it. I'm definitely really observant, so I see how people might just be more standoffish as they were before."
Gordon was suspended 10 games for failing a drug test. His suspension originally was for the entire season but was reduced after the league and players' union agreed to new policies.
He spent much of the preseason with the team, and once his suspension was reduced he was permitted to work out on his own at the team facility but not practice or work out with the team. During that time he was around his teammates.
"It's kind of like a disease," said Gordon, who did not talk to the media on Wednesday. "People, they want to see it but they don't really want to touch it."
Coach Mike Pettine did not dismiss Gordon's feelings, but he did say anything that may have happened was not malicious and is similar to what injured players experience.
"I think it's human nature," Pettine said. "I see the guys that are ... Michael Bowie walking around this building. Or you see Alex Mack. Or you see guys that you know are hurt. They're kind of here but they're not here.
"I just think that sometimes it's hard when you're involved in it to want to engage them in conversation. Because you know where they are. You know it's an uncomfortable thing.
"They're here, but they're essentially outside looking in. I can see where he would maybe interpret that in some ways."
Pettine added that the quote was "probably the most sensational part of the interview."
After Sunday's win over Atlanta, Gordon talked about his eight-catch, 120-yard performance and said he refused to quit on his team because it would not quit on him.
"It means the world to me to be back, but not just to be back, but to be with this team,'' he said. "More than anything, this is my third year here, I've been through plenty of different coaches, owners and GMs and offenses. To finally see us get it going in the right direction means everything to me. That's what I live for and that's what I work for."
Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer said Wednesday he can relate to how Gordon says he felt, due to his own experience in 2013 after he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
"When you're in the building but you're not really a part of the team, you kind of just feel like things are going on without you. The team's moving on without you. It's a terrible feeling," he said.
Linebacker Karlos Dansby said he believes that Gordon used his time away from the team to improve as a person.
"It gave him an opportunity to find himself. It made him a better person, I think," he said.
Offensive tackle Joe Thomas, meanwhile, joked that the Browns "like Josh Gordon the receiver a lot better than Josh Gordon the used car salesman," making a reference to the job the receiver took with a local car dealership during his suspension.