BEREA, Ohio – After more than three weeks of draining uncertainty, the Cleveland Browns finally received resolution on receiver Josh Gordon's 2014 status.
Unfortunately for Gordon and his team, it was the devastating blow they long feared.
Last season's All-Pro who led the league with 1,646 receiving yards has been suspended for the rest of the season after his Aug. 1 and Aug. 4 appeals of that one-year ban for his latest violation of the league's substance-abuse policy was denied, two people with knowledge of the decision told USA TODAY Sports.
Gordon will have to wait one year until he can apply to Commissioner Roger Goodell for reinstatement.
Gordon issued a statement through the NFL Player's Association on Wednesday:
"I'd like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans. I am very disappointed that the NFL and its hearing office didn't exercise better discretion and judgment in my case. I would like to sincerely thank the people who have been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging time, including my family, my agent, my union, my legal team, and the Cleveland Browns staff."
Wednesday's announcement brings resolution to a frustrating saga for the Browns that dates back to the spring, when Gordon and the team's new brass learned Gordon faced the year-long ban. News broke of Gordon's impending suspension on the second day of the NFL draft in May -- though the team did not draft a receiver at any point during the draft.
The Browns had hoped to know Gordon's status much earlier in the preseason, and head coach Mike Pettine described the team as "impatiently waiting" for news earlier this week.
Gordon was allowed to participate in training camp while his case was pending, but he played sparingly in the preseason, in part because the Browns were bracing to be without him for a significant portion of the season.
Now they know they'll be without him indefinitely.
The talented but troubled receiver who is in stage three of the league's drug program expressed a hopeful message to his fans, and apparently league appeals officer Harold Henderson in a post last week, an Instagram caption combined with a photo of him catching a practice pass. The post read: "Only place I can find peace…Good practice today #dawgs.''
Gordon, 23, had expressed his mounting frustration to teammates last week. Linebacker Karlos Dansby told USA TODAY Sports Thursday that twisting in a state of limbo was sapping Gordon and expressed a plea that Gordon receive clarity in order to take the next step.
"Josh is real humble about his situation and I know it's weighing on him heavy,'' Dansby said. "It's a stressful situation to have that looming over his head like that. Josh is in limbo. He just wants to know what the outcome will be.
"Just let him know and he can move on and be the best he can be.''
"Josh is real humble about his situation, and I know it's weighing on him heavy," Dansby said. "It's a stressful situation to have that looming over his head like that. Josh is in limbo. He just wants to know what the outcome will be.
"Just let him know and he can move on and be the best he can be."
The talented but troubled star expressed a hopeful message to his fans — and, apparently, NFL appeals officer Harold Henderson in a Thursday night Instagram caption combined with a photo of him catching a practice pass. The post read: "Only place I can find peace…Good practice today #dawgs."