When writing about the 2013 NFL Supplemental Draft earlier on Friday, I noted that many expected a breakout season for Browns wideout Josh Gordon. That notion took a big hit on Friday when news popped that Gordon has been suspended two games by the NFL for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
The wideout, who was listed as one of Pete Prisco's 2013 breakout players, will be fined two extra game checks as well. Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland first reported the news.
"Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns has been suspended without pay for the team's first two regular-season games of the 2013 season and fined two additional game checks for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse," an NFL spokesperson said in a statement.
"Gordon will be eligible to return to the Browns' active roster Sept. 16 following the team's Sept. 15 game against the Baltimore Ravens. Gordon is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games."
The wideout issued a statement from the Browns, blaming the suspension on prescribed medicine he took for strep throat which contained codeine.
"In February, I was diagnosed with strep throat for which a doctor prescribed antibiotics and cough medicine," Gordon said. "Apparently, the medicine I took contained codeine, which is prohibited by the NFL policy. The policy terms are strict about unintentional ingestion, but the NFL has not imposed the maximum punishment in light of the facts of my case. Therefore, I have chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation.
"I sincerely apologize for the impact on my team, coaches, and Browns fans. I look forward to working hard in training camp and preseason, and contributing immediately when I return in week three."
When the news broke, several NFL correspondents wrote that it wasn't a surprise to hear of Gordon's suspension; Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com noted that the Browns have been "privately concerned" about Gordon "for months."
Browns have been privately very concerned with Gordon for months, so this hardly comes to a surprise.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) June 7, 2013
And then there's this from Grossi: Apparently, Gordon would have faced a much longer suspension if college drug tests counted.
Sources told ESPNCleveland that #Browns WR Josh Gordon would have been suspended longer but college positive tests didn't carry over to NFL.— Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) June 7, 2013
That's not stunning, though. Gordon admitted to failing three drug tests while in college at Baylor and subsequently at Utah.
This is the very reason the Browns took a big risk when they selected him with a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said he was "disappointed" but also expressed confidence that "others will step up" and that Gordon will "work diligently" up until his suspension.
"Obviously, we are all disappointed in this news. In our short time with Josh, he has done everything that we've asked him to do, and he has exhibited substantial improvement. We believe that he will continue to work diligently through training camp and the preseason. I am confident that others will step up in his absence.”