A saga that has lingered in Cleveland since the NFL Draft in May finally has a resolution. According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the NFL finally reached a verdict in regards to Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon on Wednesday.
The 23-year old Gordon will be suspended for a year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The ban, which is reportedly due to a positive test for marijuana, will go into effect immediately. After the season, Gordon will have to apply to the league for reinstatement.
"I'd like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans,'' said Gordon in a statement released through the NFLPA."I am very disappointed that the NFL and its hearing office didn't exercise better discretion and judgment in my case. I would like to sincerely thank the people who have been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging time, including my family, my agent, my union, my legal team, and the Cleveland Browns staff."
According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Browns organization is also frustrated with how drawn-out of a process this ordeal has been. It took over three months for the NFL to make the very ruling they were expected to back in May.
In a preemptive strike, Gordon appealed his guilt in early August, with his representatives arguing that the positive test was due to second-hand smoke and that the levels of THC found in the primary and secondary samples were inconsistent. As a result of Wednesday’s ruling, Gordon’s appeal is denied.
Gordon was suspended for two games last season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and was also fined four game checks. Despite only playing 14 games, he still led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards.
Selected by the Browns in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft, Gordon also had marijuana-related incidents at two different colleges, one of which led to his exodus from Baylor.