Browns’ Gordon one failed test away from one-year suspension from NFL

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is reportedly in Stage 3 of the NFL’s drug program and is one failed test away from a one-year suspension.

Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Gordon’s most recent failed test was at least the second of the young receiver’s career. While it is unclear as to how, exactly, Gordon landed in Stage 31, Cabot believes that the wide receiver’s track record—he failed three marijuana tests in college and was dismissed from both Baylor and Utah—may have been the impetus.

Upon being selected by the Browns in the 2012 Supplemental Draft, Gordon said it was a “dream come true.”

“For me just having an opportunity to be out here is definitely all the motivation I need,” Gordon would later say following a pre-season practice. His rookie campaign provided the Browns with 50 receptions for 805 yards and a team-high five touchdown catches.

Late Friday afternoon, the league announced that the second-year pass-catcher would miss time after allegedly taking prescribed medication with codeine which violates league policy. Gordon’s two-game/four-game-check suspension will reportedly cost him roughly $150,000. Cabot states that the Browns may consider going after a portion of the player’s $2.3 million signing bonus.

The difference between Stage 2 and 3 amounts to 10 games, as the former results in a six-game suspension. In the latter, players are suspended for one calendar year under the substance policy can apply for reinstatement after the year is up.

[Related: Scott Raab on LeBron James, “The Block,” Josh Gordon, Chris Perez and more]

  1. There are three direct ways which are laid out in the report []

  • JK

    I’m confused. So as of now is he suspended at all?

    How can you be in trouble for taking a medicine prescribed to you from a md?

    Why us?

  • simond

    purple drank has codeine

  • Rudy

    This is why character should matter when you build a roster.

  • Natedawg86

    2 games now. I don’t understand either. For illegal drugs, that is what the law is for, not the NFL. Cocaine, Pot, Codeine, Aderal all illegal drugs, but Codeine, Aderall and sometimes Pot can be prescibe by doctor. If they have a prescription why are they getting punished.
    Here is the catch, certain jobs do not allow you to ever take certain drugs ie Pot whether it was prescribed or not. When you are employed, part of your inprocessing is signing a paper saying you read and understand what you can and can’t take. Why don’t the Browns (and other teams) have a team doctor/ pharmacy (or person who fills prescriptions) is beyond me. Josh, “Johnny, could you fill this prescription for me?” Johnny, “Josh this cough medicine has codeine in it which will get you busted in a drug test. Try to get some sleep and suck it up for a week or so. Don’t be a wuss.” Josh, “Thanks Johnny, but if you call me a wuss again I am gonna have to kick your …”

  • mgbode

    teams do have a team doctor and the NFL has a prescription hotline for players to call and find out of a substance is banned (see: StarCaps lawsuit – hotline was down which helped their case).

    if players are all over the country in the offseason, then it is the players responsibility to check the prescription with the NFL/team. there are avenues to do it and Gordon was callous in skipping this step with his history.

    not the worst thing ever done, but certainly a dumb move.

  • Harv 21

    The first thing to remember is that the NFL did not say he took a banned substance with a doc’s prescription, or that he had strep, or anything. The CBA prohibits the league from commenting about specifics and we know by the penalty whether it was performing enhancing or not. So the agent for a player suspended for performance-enhancing can say it was adderall rather than steroids, and one suspended for the other class can say it was prescribed codeine in a bottle rather than something else, and the league says nothing. The agent who wrote Gordon’s statement has every reason to say something self-serving.

    I feel no compulsion to give Gordon the benefit of the doubt, not after he screwed his coaches and teammates at Baylor with a second positive drug test while undergoing counseling and knowing he would be tested, wasted Utah’s resources and attention by doing it again when he knew he was subject to testing and was “punished” by getting second round NFL money.

    Why us? You takes a player with a history like this, you takes your chances.

  • Bryan

    Seriously, I am surprised by how naive some of the fan reaction is. Gordon can say whatever he wants to the media. His strep throat story is not an “official” story. And because the NFL has a policy of not releasing any information about failed tests, Gordon can say whatever he wants publicly.

    The dude is a professional athlete who should check everything he puts in his body. I hope he comes back strong from this, but the idea that his suspension is unfair is silly. As Simond suggests above, purple drank has codeine.

  • The_Real_Shamrock


  • 216in614

    I hate when all the reports don’t explain this.

    Was it prescribed by a Dr or not?

    Would the NFL ban a player if it was really prescribed by a Dr?

    Is Gordan just lying on advice from his agent knowing the NFL won’t refute his story?

  • simond

    i found three toll-free 800 numbers on the players association website and a document (looks outdated -i dont see codeine in there).


  • Natedawg86

    Players are lazy and everything is provided for them on a silver platter. They will not call for a cab when they have been drinking, what makes you think they will call a hotline about a prescription medicine?

  • Garry_Owen

    This is fun to watch. Some fans are overly naive and trusting; some fans are overly cynical and vindictive (not implying anything, Pat); all of us, though, have formed our opinion based ENTIRELY on speculation. We speculate whether Gordon is telling the truth or making up something to cover up “purple drank” or some other awful, hideous, nefariousness.

    My speculation: It must be somewhere in between, but likely closer to Gordon’s version. The NFL gave him 2 games. This is somewhat odd, given the league’s general “default” 4 game suspensions for even 1st time award winners – and not to mention Gordon’s status as a “Stage 3” perp and the variation between 6-game and 10-game suspensions that accompany such promotion. It seems pretty clear to me that the NFL identified and accepted some level of mitigation in the evidence accompanying Gordon’s offense. Not enough to get him off the hook (he obviously ingested some banned substance), but certainly enough to limit (pretty significantly) his punishment.

    Speculation: Making asses out of you and me for millenia.

  • BenRM

    Seems a pretty reasonable interpretation of the fact.

  • gobrownies

    I’ve gotten strep throat a ton of times. I’ve never gotten cough syrup for it. Purple Draaank

  • Harv 21

    “Cabot believes that the wide receiver’s track record—he failed three
    marijuana tests in college and was dismissed from both Baylor and
    Utah—may have been the impetus.”

    I think maybe you’re misreading that article, Scott, unless I’m missing something. Cabot does not say that his positive tests in college led to his placement in the NFL’s Stage 3 program. To the contrary, she says if he’s in Stage 3 it indicates 5 total positive tests since 2010. Cabot is assuming 2 additional failed tests in the NFL. No impetus from his college years needed.

  • paulbip

    5 failed tests! I assume nothing. He’s stupid if anything.