Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon would likely have avoided a suspension if his drug test samples were tested in a different order, according to a report from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Gordon is facing a year-long suspension, reportedly for a positive drug test for marijuana.
Gordon is in the third stage of the NFL's drug program, which means any violation automatically nets him a one-year suspension. Last season, he served a two-game suspension for the use of cough syrup that contained codeine, which pushed him into the third stage.
As Florio reports, Gordon has to pass up to 10 drug tests per month, and has passed "at least 70 drug tests." The positive test in question "barely generated a positive," according to the report. There are generally two urine samples, the "A" bottle and the "B" bottle. If there's a problem with the first one, or if it comes up positive, the "B" bottle is tested.
According to the report, the "B" bottle doesn't have to confirm a positive result itself, it "need only show that the substance, revealed in the 'A' bottle, is evident to the 'limits of detection' to confirm the results of the 'A' bottle test." In other words, if there's a positive test on "A," which means a detected violation above the allowable levels, then the "B" test only needs to confirm the presence of the substance in question.
Gordon's test of his "A" bottle reportedly showed a concentration of 16 nanograms per milliliter. The limit is 15 ng/ml, and the "B" bottle showed a concentration of 13.5 ng/ml. So if the "B" bottle had been tested first, Gordon would not be facing a suspension at this point.
Gordon's appeal for said suspension is scheduled for Aug. 1. He recently hired attorney Maurice Suh, who helped Richard Sherman win his appeal back when he was facing suspension. Sherman's appeal centered around a faulty test, a strong argument that doesn't seem to be the case for Gordon. Whatever the case, Florio's report says Gordon's appeal will focus on the disparity between the "A" and "B" bottle tests.
He'll also dispute that the levels given -- one just barely over the limit and the other just under -- are due to second-hand smoke, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
At this point, Gordon likely isn't arguing against a suspension altogether, but rather a reduced one. If Gordon's appeal is unsuccessful, he'll be suspended for a full season and will be expected to apply for reinstatement next year.