Gordon’s “suspension” has been viewed as a one-year ban for one calendar year. By the letter of the law, that means Gordon could not return to the Browns until Aug. 27, 2015.
However, the league provided a tiny shred of hope to Gordon and his future with the Browns by stating the following in its release:
"Gordon’s eligibility for reinstatement will be determined following the 2014 season."
The release also states that Gordon is being suspended “for the 2014 NFL season,” which is not a calendar year.
This would indicate quite clearly -- imagine the layers of lawyers who went over the statement's two paragraphs -- that Gordon could be reinstated before training camp next summer, and perhaps even for offseason work. His absence then would be more similar to a season-ending injury rather than one that drags into the following season.
Nothing is certain.
Asked to clarify the statement, a league spokesman said the league would not elaborate.
So ... there’s that.
But the fact that that statement is included in the release indicates the league will at least consider the fact that the decision took until just before the final preseason game, and it should not affect 2015.
Gordon’s apology and statement that he hoped the league would have used better judgment indicated he knows his hopes for playing this season are slim.
But the league’s statement gives a tiny ray of hope for 2015.