Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon could potentially be suspended for the entire 2014 season due to a second failed drug test, according to a report from ESPN. Gordon's agent Drew Rosenhaus said the information was "not true" but declined to comment further.
The 23-year-old Gordon, who led the NFL in receiving yards last season, was suspended for two games last season due to a violation of the NFL's drug policy. According to the ESPN report, Gordon is facing a longer suspension for a second violation, this time for marijuana. The first violation reportedly was a result of using a cough syrup that contained a banned substance. According to the report, Gordon was notified that he faced a 16-game suspension for the second violation, but would have an option to appeal. When reached by ESPN, Gordon didn't have much to say, instead directing the questions to his agent.
"I'm going to have to find out about that later," Gordon said when asked if he would appeal. "You need to call Drew."
Gordon was suspended twice in college, reportedly for marijuana use, before eventually being dismissed from Baylor. He opted to go into the supplemental draft where he was drafted in the second round by the Browns. Following a solid rookie season, Gordon broke out last year, catching 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. The season was good enough to earn him Pro Bowl honors and put his name in the discussion for the top receivers in the NFL.
If Gordon is facing a year-long suspension, that would imply he's in Stage Three of the NFL's substance abuse program. A player can enter Stage One of the program for a variety of reasons, it would not be a surprise if Gordon entered the league in Stage One due to the reported issues at Baylor. A violation while in Stage One results in a fine and being put in Stage Two. Violating the program while in Stage Two results in a fine and possibly a four-game suspension. A second violation while in Stage Two results in a four or six game suspension, depending on earlier punishment. The player is also advanced to Stage Three. Any violation while in Stage Three results in a one-year suspension, according to Daryl Ruiter of CBS Cleveland.
Gordon was only suspended for two games last year -- and fined an additional two game checks -- but it's possible that suspension advanced him to Stage Three which is why he would be facing a 16-game ban.