December 21, 2014

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(UPDATED) BREAKING: Browns WR Josh Gordon suspended for 2014 season

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) warms up before an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) warms up before an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The NFL upheld the indefinite suspension of Browns receiver Josh Gordon for violating the league’s drug policy. He’s banned for the season, effective immediately.

A league spokesman said Gordon’s eligibility for reinstatement will be determined following the 2014 season.

“I’d like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans,” Gordon said in a statement released by the National Football League Players’ Association. “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.”

Appeals officer Harold Henderson upheld the suspension after an appeal Aug. 1 and Aug. 4. Gordon’s lawyers contested the validity of the drug test in which he tested positive for marijuana. They also argued the positive result, by a narrow margin, was from second-hand smoke.

The loss of Gordon could be devastating for the Browns. He was an All-Pro last year after leading the league with 1,646 yards receiving, despite being suspended for the first two games following a failed drug test.

“While we may have strong feelings on the timing and the process of this decision, we have also consistently communicated that we will focus on what we can control in our day to day approach,” general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement released by the team. “Right now that is preparing our team for the 2014 season and at the same time, supporting Josh however we are able under NFL guidelines during his suspension.”

“We will continue to support Josh and we understand that there is accountability for one’s actions,” coach Mike Pettine said. “Our job and that of the team is to focus on what we can control. Our philosophy in building this team and the mentality we’re establishing is that we’re going to have to overcome challenges and situations throughout the course of a season. We’ll continue to be relentless in our approach, in how we work and focus on our goal of returning winning football to Cleveland.”

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @scottpetrak.

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