Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has officially been suspended by the NFL for the entire 2014 season after his appeal was denied by the NFL on Wednesday, according to Mike Garafolo. Gordon's suspension is for an entire calendar year, which means he may also miss all of training camp in 2015 and the majority of next preseason.
The suspension comes due to a failed drug test, the latest in a string of incidents dating back to his college career. News of a potential suspension came out during the 2014 NFL Draft, along with reports that he could miss the entirety of the coming season, but more than a month passed without news confirming the suspension.
That's because there had to be an appeal hearing for the drug test and suspension in question, which took some time to set up. At one point, Browns head coach Mike Pettine said there was a "level of frustration," regarding the fact that the issue went on so long without a resolution, as reported by CBS Sports.
Gordon, along with his attorney, spent an entire day in July pleading his case to the NFL's hearing officer. Their contention was that Gordon's failed drug test came as a result of secondhand smoke. Gordon's argument also hinged on two disparate sample results from his drug test. His first sample resulted in a positive test, but his second sample provided as part of the drug test showed a marijuana level that fell below the league's threshold for a positive.
Gordon released the following statement on his suspension, via the NFLPA:
"I'd like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans. 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."
The NFL also released a statement regarding the suspension:
"Appeals officer Harold Henderson has upheld the suspension for the 2014 NFL season of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. The suspension is effective immediately. "Gordon's eligibility for reinstatement will be determined following the 2014 season."
Dawgs by Nature
Dawgs by Nature
Gordon is just 23 years old and coming off a monster season in which he had 1,649 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He's one of the NFL's most prolific receivers and has some of the best big-play potential in the league. There were talks of him potentially being traded last season, but it's unclear if teams wanted to stay away for these off-the-field issues, or if he simply wasn't actually on the trade block.
Gordon was suspended twice in college, reportedly for marijuana use, before Baylor dismissed him. He eventually entered the supplemental draft and was taken by the Browns. He missed two games at the beginning of last season because of a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Browns GM Ray Farmer released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
While we may have strong feelings on the timing and the process of this decision, we have also consistently communicated that we will focus on what we can control in our day to day approach. Right now that is preparing our team for the 2014 season and at the same time, supporting Josh however we are able under NFL guidelines during his suspension.