Josh Gordon ruling pushed back

A verdict on Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon's appeal may not be handed down until the end of next week, league sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The NFL wanted to take about 10 days to go over testimony from the All-Pro wide receiver's two-day appeal of potential penalties for violations of the league's substance-abuse policy, sources said. But the hearing went so long that the transcription was delayed. That has pushed back a ruling, which may not come until the end of next week.

Gordon's lawyer, Maurice Suh, contends that the 23-year-old Gordon, who has a history of drug issues, tested positive for marijuana because of secondhand smoke.

Gordon's situation has hung over the Browns for months, but there at least seems to be an end in sight. Because he's in the third stage of the league's substance-abuse program, Gordon could receive a one-year suspension and would then have to apply for reinstatement with commissioner Roger Goodell.

There's a chance Gordon could get a reduced suspension, and he could be helped by the recent public outcry over the league's handling of the case involving Baltimore running back Ray Rice, who was given a two-game suspension for domestic violence.

The Browns are eager for a final answer regarding their top playmaker.

Gordon emerged as one of the league's biggest game-breaking threats last season. Despite being suspended two games and playing with three quarterbacks, Gordon still led the league with 1,646 receiving yards. He scored nine touchdowns and became the only player in league history to record consecutive 200-yard games.

ESPN.com's Pat McManamon contributed to this report.