The NFL delivered a stinging but not unexpected blow to the Cleveland Browns today. The League upheld a one-year suspension of Josh Gordon, the Browns’ wide receiver who led the NFL in receiving yardage last year. ideastream’s Brian Bull reports:
The NFL cut Gordon no slack in upholding the league’s substance abuse policy. The 23-year old stand-out player tested positive earlier this year for marijuana – his third substance abuse violation with the NFL.
He argued that the last positive test was from second-hand smoke and asked for leniency. But the NFL arbitrator wasn’t swayed, and now the Browns are left lacking for a player of similar caliber.
Gordon was suspended for a couple games in 2013 also because of substance abuse violations.
But after he rejoined the team, he ran up more than 1,640 yards in 14 games, as well as nearly 90 receptions, nine touchdowns, and an average of 19 yards per catch.
In a statement, Gordon apologized to his fans, coaches, teammates, and the Browns organization. He said he was “very disappointed” that the NFL didn’t “exercise better discretion and judgment” in his case.
Gordon’s history has raised concerns. In July, he was pulled over in North Carolina and charged with a DUI. And while a college player, drug use got him kicked off the team at Baylor University, and from playing with the University of Utah.
In just over a week, the Browns will play their season opener against arch rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.