Browns coaches weren't the only ones baffled when former Browns head of football operations Sashi Brown cut two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden 11 days before the regular season. Receiver Josh Gordon, who was in the midst of a three-month rehab stay at the time, was equally perplexed from afar.

"I was definitely confused,'' Gordon said Thursday. "I think most of us were on that decision. It just didn't make much sense at the time but like most of those decisions that go on up top, they call the shots and whatever they see fit to do or fit to make a decision on, it's kind of how they play it. So you think that there's some validity to it that I didn't know about or still don't know about. I don't know the reasoning behind it, but it was just confusing more than anything.''

If there was some reason behind it other than Haden's $13.5 million average, it's a mystery. The Browns have struggled in the secondary all season, playing zone because they don't have the horses to play man. They're tied for 24th in the NFL with 27 touchdown passes allowed, and their six interceptions are second-fewest in the NFL.

Meanwhile, Haden stormed back from five weeks off with a broken fibula last week to limit Texans' star receiver DeAndre Hopkins to four catches for 65 yards and a TD. Hopkins is fifth in the NFL with 96 receptions for 1,378 yards and 13 TDs.

"It looks like he's doing well,'' said Gordon, who could be covered by his good buddy Sunday in Pittsburgh. "He's still Joe. More than anything, he's one of the most athletic, explosive, energetic defensive backs in the league, so I think you're going to get the best of Joe any day. If he's on the field, hurt or not hurt or 100%, he's going to appear as if he's good to go, so if he's playing, I'll expect him at this best.''

Gordon, like the rest of Haden's former teammates, is happy for him that he's finally going to the playoffs for the first time in his eight-year career.