As it stands right now, the Cleveland Browns will be going through this season without one of the most prolific wide receivers in the NFL, Josh Gordon, who is facing a year-long ban from the league following his most recent violation of the league’s drug policy. On Thursday it was announced that the hearing for his appeal with be held in July, where a final ruling on the matter will be made.
Some folks believe that this process could be as easy as Gordon serving the suspension in 2014 and then returning in 2015 to pick right up where he left off. And where he left off in 2013 was nothing short of amazing. On a team with mediocre quarterback play, at best, Gordon was the leading receiver in the NFL, finishing up with 87 catches for 1,646 yards and nine scores.
However, it appears that the Browns don’t see it as easy as that. As a matter of fact, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, there are some in the organization that fear he may never play on the field again, and they cited the recent issues the Jaguars have had with Justin Blackmon as a comparison.
Sources close to Gordon have told cleveland.com they’re concerned that if he’s away from the team for a year and away from his support system, that he’ll have a tough time making it back into the NFL.
The sources point to Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon, the former first-round pick, who was suspended indefinitely in November of 2013 for violating the substance abuse policy and isn’t expected to be re-instated in 2014. The Jaguars aren’t counting on Blackmon and have moved on from him.
Should the ruling of the year-long ban stand, it would certainly be a crushing blow to an organization that’s looking to make some new strides with a good draft class coming in, led by quarterback Johnny Manziel, and a new head coach leading the charge, Mike Pettine.
But, as suggested by the report, will Gordon’s recent failed drug test end up hurting the team past this season?