CLEVELAND -- Josh Gordon is officially suspended without pay for a minimum of one year for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, the Browns announced Tuesday. And the team couldn't sound more fed up with the wide receiver.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Jan. 25 that Gordon had failed a league-issued substance abuse test, this time for alcohol. This is Gordon's third NFL suspension. Also, the team suspended Gordon on the final week of the season for missing team activities. The NFL had issued a zero-drinking stipulation for Gordon as a result of his repeat offenses.
In a statement, general manager Ray Farmer was blunt in his assessment of Gordon.
"As we have conveyed, we are disappointed to once again be at this point with Josh," Farmer said. "Throughout his career we have tried to assist him in getting support like we would with any member of our organization. Unfortunately our efforts have not resonated with him. It is evident that Josh needs to make some substantial strides to live up to the positive culture we are trying to build this football team upon.
"Our hope is that this suspension affords Josh the opportunity to gain some clarity in determining what he wants to accomplish moving forward and if he wants a career in the National Football League. We will have no further comment on Josh as he will not be permitted in our facility for the duration of his suspension."
Gordon's 2015 salary, scheduled to pay $1.07 million before his team suspension, will not count against the Browns' salary cap. In 2012, Gordon signed a four-year, $5.34 million contract including a signing bonus of around $2.3 million. Gordon must forfeit a portion of that signing bonus (if prorated, around $564,000) as a result of the suspension but will have the chance to earn the money back.
He was originally scheduled to be a free agent after 2015 but didn't meet the six-game minimum requirement last season to accrue a free agency year because of the suspensions, so the Browns own his rights in 2016. For Gordon to play that year, he must apply for reinstatement.
Gordon was one of the NFL's brightest receivers in 2013 with 87 catches, 1,646 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, but he failed to score in five games last season, failing to eclipse the 50-yard mark in three of those five games.
Gordon was arrested on July 5, 2014, and charged with driving while impaired after speeding down a street in Raleigh, North Carolina. He pleaded guilty in September and in lieu of a 60-day suspended jail sentence, he received 12 months of unsupervised probation, a $100 fine and $290 in court costs as a result of the plea. He also had his driver's license suspended.
In a first-person letter published by a website called Medium, Gordon said he was not an alcoholic or a drug addict and took exception to television commentators broadly categorizing him as such. He also said that he had two beers and two drinks during a flight with teammates to Las Vegas on Jan. 2, and that he was summoned to be tested upon the plane's landing.
"I failed the [alcohol] test, obviously, and the rest is history ... colored by media speculation and faux outrage," Gordon said in the letter. "In the end, of course, I failed myself."
Efforts to reach Drew Rosenhaus, Gordon's agent, were unsuccessful Tuesday night.
Gordon's suspension comes a day after the news that Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was voluntarily entering a treatment program.
The quarterback is entering treatment as a direct result of his lifestyle away from the field, and he informed people in his circle last week that he wants to "figure out his value system," a source said.