CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Josh Gordon will not play in 2014.
Gordon’s appeal of a year-long suspension was denied and the initial ruling by the NFL upheld the league announced Wednesday.
“Appeals officer Harold Henderson has upheld the suspension for the 2014 NFL season of Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse,” the NFL said in a statement. “The suspension is effective immediately.
“Gordon’s eligibility for reinstatement will be determined following the 2014 season.”
Gordon led the NFL in receiving yardage last season with 1,646 yards in 14 games. He also led the Browns with 87 catches, 9 touchdowns and averaged 18.9 yards per catch in 2013.
Gordon released a statement through the NFLPA Wednesday afternoon after the ruling came down concluding a 4-month long process.
“I’d like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans,” Gordon said. “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 decision came 23 days after his appeal hearing wrapped up on Aug. 4. ESPN first broke the story of Gordon’s suspension on May 9.
Under terms of the suspension, Gordon is not permitted to participate in any team activities and is barred from the Browns facility in Berea, however he must continue to comply with the league’s drug testing policies and any additional failed tests could impact his case for reinstatement.
Gordon was suspended for the first 2 games of the 2013 season for a failed drug test in Feb. 2013 which he attributed to codeine in prescribed cough syrup. He was also fined 4 game checks for the violation.
Gordon has also been pulled over numerous times for speeding violations within the last 18 months and he was arrested in Raleigh, North Carolina for DWI on July 5. Prior to training camp Gordon reportedly checked into a California rehab facility for 2 weeks.
The suspension essentially freezes Gordon’s contract and the Browns will retain control of him now through the 2016 season. He was scheduled to make $825,604 in 2014 and $1,068,406 in 2015. Those salaries will roll over to 2015 and 2016.
The Browns selected Gordon, who had a history of failed drug tests at Baylor and Utah, in the 2012 supplemental draft and tendered a 2013 second round pick to do it.
Only Randy Moss (2,726) and Jerry Rice (2,497) had more receiving yardage in their first 2 seasons combined than Gordon (2,451) did.
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