Report: NFL denies Josh Gordon’s bid for reinstatement

Aug 18, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) walks out of the locker room prior to the Browns
Aug 18, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) walks out of the locker room prior to the Browns /

The Cleveland Browns learned on Tuesday that the NFL has denied the reinstatement bid of suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon.

The NFL provided some clarity to the ongoing murky situation surrounding Josh Gordon by reportedly denying his appeal to be reinstated from his latest suspension.

Gordon can reportedly try again for reinstatement any time after Aug. 1 but, once again for those still in denial, there are no guarantees that the NFL will allow him back into the league.

The story was first reported by Mary Kay Cabot at

The NFL’s decision comes a day after news broke that Gordon failed a league-mandated drug test in March, with both of his A and B samples testing positive for marijuana and dilute. The leak of what is supposed to be a confidential report has led Gordon’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and the NFL Players Association to call for an investigation into the source of the leak, according to Pro Football Talk.

While the amount of marijuana in both samples was less than the 35 nanograms the league requires for a positive test, according to Cabot, a diluted sample that shows traces of a banned substance is considered a positive test for players who are in Stage Two or State Three of the substance abuse program.

The thrice-suspended Gordon is in Stage 3, so in the league’s eyes his tests were positive.

Related: Latest Josh Gordon news does not change Browns draft plans

Even if Gordon is able to stay clean until Aug. 1 and applies for reinstatement, as we’ve all seen this spring the NFL does not have to make a quick judgement on his return. The league can take up to 60 days or longer to issue a ruling, and in Gordon’s case it is probably a safe bet to take the over on the timetable.

Even if the league does reinstate Gordon it will most likely occur once the regular season has already started, and as everyone saw the last time Gordon returned midseason from a suspension, that is not conducive to him being a productive player.

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Gordon missed the first 10 games of the 2014 season, returning to much fanfare to a Browns team that was 6-4 and battling for the AFC North Division title. But Gordon was uninterested, couldn’t be bothered to learn the playbook, and was a major liability to the offense as Cleveland’s promising start fizzled out during a five-game losing streak to close the season.

Things went so poorly that season for Gordon, who finished the year with just 24 receptions for 303 yards, that the team ultimately made him inactive for the season finale for an unspecified violation of team rules.

If the NFL takes 60 days and ultimately decides to reinstate Gordon, he would come back to the team sometime in October – almost 22 months after he last played a competitive game in the NFL. It didn’t work out last time, so there is little reason to believe that this time would be any different.

And that is assuming the Browns will want him on the team after all this. Cleveland has taken the wise approach of “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to Gordon, not wanting to get anyone’s hopes up or make any plans surrounding his potential return. While they may have been open to him coming back as a full off-season participant, it is fair to wonder if they want to go down the midseason return path again.

The lone bright spot in all of this is that it gives the Browns closure, at least until this fall, on the Gordon situation and can allow them to continue putting all their attention into their latest rebuilding effort.