The NFL officially suspended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for at least a full calendar year without pay on Tuesday after another violation of the league's substance abuse policy. The suspension begins immediately. From the NFL:
"Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns has been suspended without pay for at least one year for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Gordon's suspension begins immediately."
Gordon reportedly tested positive for alcohol more than a week ago, which violated the terms of the league's substance abuse program. He entered the program after pleading guilty to a DUI charge at the beginning of the season.
The Browns released a statement on Tuesday following the announcement of Gordon's suspension. GM Ray Farmer had harsh words for the wide receiver, questioning whether he wants an NFL career or not.
"As we have conveyed, we are disappointed to once again be at this point with Josh. Throughout his career we have tried to assist him in getting support like we would with any member of our organization," Browns general manager Ray Farmer said. "Unfortunately our efforts have not resonated with him. It is evident that Josh needs to make some substantial strides to live up to the positive culture we are trying to build this football team upon. Our hope is that this suspension affords Josh the opportunity to gain some clarity in determining what he wants to accomplish moving forward and if he wants a career in the National Football League. We will have no further comment on Josh as he will not be permitted in our facility for the duration of his suspension."
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The troubled wideout has a history of drug problems. He was suspended two games in 2013 for a failed drug test, and was let go from the Baylor football team in 2011 after he tested positive for marijuana while in school.
Gordon, the league's leading receiver two seasons ago with a franchise-record 1,646 yards, had a disappointing campaign after returning from the suspension in late November. He topped 100 yards receiving just once, and averaged 60.6 receiving yards per game in five games. Gordon was suspended by the team for the Browns' season finale for a violation of team rules prior to the game.
The third-year receiver is signed through the 2015 season, but will not be an unrestricted free agent at the end of his current year-long suspension if he is reinstated. Because he was suspended for the Week 17 game against the Baltimore Ravens, he played in only five games and did not appear in the necessary six games to give him another accrued season.
This means that Gordon will have only two accrued seasons in the NFL at the end of his contract, and now with this recent suspension will enter free agency in 2016 as a restricted free agent. This significantly limits his bargaining power, as the Browns will be able to match whatever deal any other team offers Gordon as a free agent.