Josh Gordon Suspension Upheld, Out For Season
By Allen Kim
The long, drawn-out process to come to a decision on Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon’s suspension appeal has finally come to an end, and arbitrator Harold Henderson has ruled that Gordon’s suspension will be upheld.
Despite some optimism over a reduced suspension, Gordon will unfortunately have to sit out the entire season. The long delay by Henderson led to many believing that Gordon had a strong enough case to warrant a successful appeal, but the end result was still the same. The suspension goes into effect today, and Gordon will be allowed to apply for reinstatement after the conclusion of the 2014 season. Commissioner Roger Goodell will decide his fate after he applies for reinstatement.
“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," Gordon said. “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.”
Gordon was able to pass over 70 drug tests, but a single bad test with an absurd 0.01 nanograms per milliliter over the limit was all it took to ban him. He still has the option of suing the league and getting an injunction to delay the ban, but that may not help him in the long run, especially if the lawsuit is unsuccessful.
After leading the league in receiving yards last season after he caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in only 14 games, there was a lot of hype surrounding Gordon and his follow-up campaign. However, we’ll have to wait until the 2015 season to see what he has in store for an encore.
The Browns will now have to lean on Jordan Cameron in the passing game due to the lack of talent at the receiver position. Miles Austin, Andrew Hawkins and Nate Burleson are the top receivers on the depth chart, and it’s clear that the Browns will focus on establishing their rushing attack. Behind the legs of Ben Tate and Terrance West, expect to see a lot of hand-offs.
Now the focus in Cleveland can turn back to the quarterback competition and whether or not rookie QB Johnny Manziel will be able to supplant Brian Hoyer as the starting quarterback.