July 25, 2014
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns may soon learn whether they’ll have Josh Gordon this season.
The Pro Bowl wide receiver will have an appeal hearing with NFL officials in New York on Aug. 1, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.
The game-breaking playmaker is facing a possible one-year ban for violating the league’s substance abuse policy for at least the third time. Gordon, who had a history of marijuana abuse in college, was suspended for the first two games last season. He still led the NFL with 1,646 yards receiving.
The 23-year-old player is expected to report to training camp Friday and he’ll be on the field Saturday as the Browns have their first practice under new coach Mike Pettine.
According to reports, Gordon recently checked himself into rehab following an arrest in North Carolina. ESPN’s Adam Shefter said Gordon spent two weeks at a facility in California.
The Browns have been patiently waiting for a resolution on Gordon’s playing status, and his uncertain future has left a cloud over the team. The Browns first learned of a potential extended suspension on the second day of the NFL draft in May. The ESPN report doused the optimism created after the Browns, who have had only two winning seasons since 1999, drafted quarterback Johnny Manziel.
On Wednesday, Pettine told the AP he’s not consumed with worry about whether he’ll have Gordon.
“The frustration has really faded,” Pettine said. “It’s just something that’s there. It’s equivalent of having that file folder with all the answers in it and it’s sitting there ready to go. It’s just got a lot of dust. We’re just waiting to hear from the league and we’ll act accordingly.”
If Gordon loses his appeal, he could be banned by Commissioner Roger Goodell for a minimum of one year. He would then have to apply for re-instatement.
Gordon has complicated his case with two recent legal infractions. He was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after speeding down a street in Raleigh, North Carolina, last month. In May, he was ticketed for speeding in Ohio, and a passenger in his car was cited for marijuana possession.
Pettine said the Browns have no plans to release Gordon. The team intends to support him and give him any help he may need.
“Josh is a Cleveland Brown and we want what’s best for him and we want what’s best for us,” Pettine said. “He’s smart. He’s bright. He’s creative. He’s a guy that in a lot of ways that you root for.”