July 30, 2014

Josh Gordon has reportedly passed “at least 70 drug tests”

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We found out recently that Josh Gordon hired Richard Sherman’s lawyer to help handle his appeal with the NFL. In that case Maurice Suh called into question the specimen collection process and created doubt around the “he-said, he-said” case between the player and the collector. Now, Pro Football Talk is reporting what Josh Gordon’s strategy heading into the appeal on August 1. No surprise, the argument will once again center on the sample.

In the NFL, drug tests are split into two samples. They test one and then depending on the result test the second to double check. Here’s what PFT has to say.

For Gordon, the “A” bottle showed a concentration of 16 ng/ml, only one nanogram per milliliter above the limits of 15. The “B” bottle showed a concentration of 13.6 ng/ml — less than the threshold.

But because the “A” bottle was labeled “A” and not “B” and because the “B” bottle was labeled “B” and not “A”, the end result is a positive and a minimum one-year banishment from the NFL. Flip the bottles when it’s time to apply the labels, and Gordon isn’t facing a suspension.

The really interesting thing to me was what PFT stated before these details: Josh Gordon has passed at least 70 drug tests according to PFT’s source and was really close to passing this test as well. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Gordon’s legal team is hinging their argument on the stated inconsistencies in addition to the potential for the test being skewed by second-hand smoke.

We will see how effective these defenses are. For Gordon, the stakes are high as he faces the road that Justin Blackmon has traveled with an indefinite ban requiring application for reinstatement. Josh Gordon and the Browns would rather see him win a fight over the sample collection process (and the potential cause) regardless of how minute the technicality might be.

Then again, even as Josh Gordon has passed over 70 tests, he’s always one test away from finding himself out.

[Also see: A look at Kyle Shanahan’s Zone Run Game, Part I: Cleveland Browns Film Room]

(Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY)

 

Josh Gordon has hired Richard Sherman’s lawyer for appeal

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Josh Gordon’s appeal date with the NFL is set for Friday, August 1. The Pro Bowl receiver is facing a year-long suspension for violating the terms of the league’s drug policy again.

When he has his chance to defend himself in front of the NFL, he is taking the most ammunition he can find.

According to Adam Schefter, Josh Gordon has hired attorney Maurice Suh, who successfully argued on Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman’s behalf back in December of 2012. Sherman was facing a four-game suspension that would have kept him out of the playoffs. Suh’s defense centered around the collection process.

“The decision really relied most heavily on the collection problem, and it comes down to that the arbitrator believed Richard Sherman over the collector’s recounting of the facts,” said Suh after the Sherman case. “This is a case in which there were two different versions – the collector tried to refute what Richard had said about what had happened, and frankly, we didn’t feel the collector was believable and we tried to bring that up in cross examination.”

Gordon is appealing in order to get his suspension reduced in hopes of playing this year.

[Related: Balancing competition and aggression, training camp notes]

(Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY)

Josh Gordon may have checked himself into rehab

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Mike Garafolo reported Thursday night on FOX Sports One’s evening show America’s Pregame that Josh Gordon checked himself into rehab after his July 4th arrest in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Patient confidentiality being what it is, it may be difficult to confirm if Gordon did in fact complete the program unless it comes from Gordon himself.

Would a completed rehab program have any weight at all in the eyes of the NFL as far as reducing his impending suspension? Could the rehab program itself be the reason Gordon’s hearing hasn’t already happened?

[Related: Josh Gordon's hearing set for August 1st]

 

Josh Gordon’s hearing is set for August 1

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“Good things come to those who wait,” is a famous phrase, but in the case of Josh Gordon we’ll have to see if it’s true. Chris Wesseling of NFL Network is reporting that Gordon’s appeals hearing to determine whether and how long he’ll be suspended is August 1 in New York. At this stage of the game, I bet Gordon wishes it had happened a long time ago.

The timeline begins the day after the draft. While Browns fans were in the afterglow of a draft that saw them get one of the best corners in the draft and also one of the most decorated quarterbacks coming into the league, we were smacked by Josh Gordon news that he might have failed another drug test.

Hey, anyone know when Josh Gordon’s appeal is?

Then, over Memorial Day weekend, Josh Gordon was pulled over for speeding. No big deal, right? Most of us could get caught doing 74 in a 60 MPH zone. Oh, but one of his passengers was cited for possession of marijuana. That doesn’t look good during an appeals hearing. At minimum, it probably requires a discussion, right?

Hey, anyone know when Josh Gordon’s appeal is?

Not until after the July 4th weekend when Gordon was pulled over and arrested for DWI in North Carolina. As it turns out, Gordon’s reported BAC was 0.09 and the legal limit is 0.08. “Close” obviously isn’t good enough, but if this was an isolated incident for a guy, you might chalk it up as a one-time mistake.

But this is Josh Gordon and now we know his appeal is scheduled for August 1st. It’s scheduled after he was pulled over for speeding and one of his passengers had pot and also after getting popped for DWI while also coming off a season in which he was suspended while also trying to overcome a checkered past involving drugs throughout a shortened college career.

I’m out of breath and I wonder if Roger Goodell’s run out of patience. We’ll see on August 1st.

I think it’s safe to say that Guiness lied in their advertising, at least in the case of Josh Gordon and Browns fans.

Mike Pettine: Josh Gordon is a Cleveland Brown

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In a recent interview with The Akron Beacon-Journal, Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine reiterated that the team has no plans to cut maligned wide receiver Josh Gordon in the wake of his troubled off-season.

“We’re firm,” said Pettine. “We want to find that middle ground. Josh is a Cleveland Brown. We want to do what’s best for him. We have a player that potentially needs help. Whether it’s him or whether it’s anybody else that wears the uniform, if we can help, we’ll help. We want to make our decisions always, what’s best for the player, and you try to marry it with what’s best for the team. So that’s why I don’t think that cutting him, while it may have worked for some other people, I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best option here. It might be the worst option for both — for us and for him. We’re going to wait and see what happens and then act accordingly.”

Pettine would not get into details regarding how the team can, or will, help Gordon as the league is allegedly sensitive to substance abuse issues. Coincidentally, it’s the league that has yet to determine whether or not Gordon—who reportedly violated the league’s policy earlier this offseason—will miss any games for the 2014 season.

Coming off of a Pro Bowl season wherein Gordon led the league in receiving (despite missing two games), the 23-year-old was expected to be the top target for quarterback Brian Hoyer or newly drafted Johnny Manziel this coming year. The Browns added veterans Nate Burleson, Andrew Hawkins and Miles Austin to help bolster an already top-heavy unit. If Gordon misses any time, or even a full season, Pettine iterated that the team will not be able to replace such a talent, but will instead have to draw up creative schemes that will help hide their considerably weak receiving corps.

“You don’t replace him,” said Pettine. “I think you have to get creative. It’s got to be a committee approach, and I think you also have to get creative in how you run your offense whether it’s an extra tight end — that’s where adding Jim Dray and having a veteran like Gary Barnidge helps — [allowing] you to maybe move Jordan [Cameron] around a little bit and play with groupings that maybe involve less wide receivers. You don’t become as wide receiver dependent… I think we have more options there than maybe people think.”

The team believes they will hear word on Gordon’s future within the next 10 days.  The two years remaining on his contract will be tolled if he is indeed suspended. The Browns, theoretically, could have an elite talent at salaries of $825,000 in 2015 and $1.06 million in 2016. Training Camp is set to begin on Saturday, July 26.

 

 

The return of LeBron James plus Johnny Manziel and Josh Gordon – WFNY Podcast – 2014-07-07

WFNY Podcast LogoAs I said in the podcast, I have a new album coming out this week. My band name is The Company Line and the album is called “Losing My Voice.” It’s available right now for pre-order on Amazon. It’s supposed to be on iTunes and Spotify as well. Please search it out. Please listen to it. Please tell a friend. Please enjoy it.

Here’s the story behind the album.

Here’s a track from it.

Now on to the Podcast.

It was a wild weekend on Twitter with all the sports news. TD and I ran it down.

  • LeBron James coming back to Cleveland?
  • Dan Gilbert’s plane!
  • The practical issues surrounding the Miami Heat rebuilding
  • LeBron facing Pat Riley and what that might be like
  • New song from Craig’s band The Company Line
  • Josh Gordon getting pulled over for speeding and DWI
  • Johnny Manziel rolling up dollar bills. Is it a story?
  • Michael Brantley makes the all-star team
  • The Indians should trade Asdrubal Cabrera and Justin Masterson

 

[iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/2931378/height/150/width/590/thumbnail/yes/theme/standard-mini" height="150" width="590" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
Check out this episode!

Josh Gordon reportedly arrested last night in North Carolina

Josh Gordon faces suspension from the NFL already, and it seems that his appeals process might have hit another bump in the road last night. According to (the) Twitter, Gordon was arrested last night in North Carolina.

Obviously without knowing what the charges were, it’s hard to have much of a reaction. I mean if he was nailed for drug possession or public drunkenness or public urination, the reactions are going to be very different. It could have been just driving way too fast. So, I’ll reserve judgement.

The only thing that I will say is something that I’ve said for years and years. It’s my own personal cliche, but I think it’s apropos.

Not getting arrested is the easiest part of my day. It’s simple for me, and I don’t think I’m bragging when I say that.

Josh Gordon’s Appeal Hearing Reportedly Set for Late July

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The Cleveland Browns have been in limbo ever since the first report of Josh Gordon’s potential suspension.  The team could finally get an answer on his suspension in the next couple weeks. According to ProFootballTalk, the appeal hearing for Josh Gordon’s suspension is scheduled for sometime in late July.  The announcement could be sooner if the NFL and the NFLPA can work out a reduced suspension before the appeal hearing.  He is reportedly facing a year long suspension for a violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.  The Browns have had no comment about Josh Gordon’s potential suspension until they receive the final verdict.  It will be a huge blow for the Browns if they lose their star number one receiver Josh Gordon.

Browns and Gordon still waiting, with no appeal date set

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The NFL still has not officially handed down a suspension for Browns WR Josh Gordon.

The team still can’t talk about the situation.

On Monday, Pro Football Talk.com reported however that Josh Gordon still does not even have an appeal hearing set.

What is the significance of this news? Simply put, it is about timing. The Browns would like to know if they will have their star receiver and biggest offensive weapon for half a season, a third of a season or not at all. The number of games he is suspended could make a huge difference in how Cleveland prepares for the upcoming season.

If he is suspended for a year, the Browns would like him to start serving that suspension immediately, so that one calendar year can pass and Gordon would possibly be eligible to return to the team for the 2015 training camp.

Word first leaked of a possible Gordon suspension back on May 10th, during the second day of the NFL Draft. The thought was Gordon’s case would be cleared up before the league offices went on summer break. If the appeal news is true, there is no way the league makes a final decision until later in the summer.

Is this fair to the Browns? Well, there really isn’t much precedent here to say whether the league is dragging their feet or not. In Joe Haden’s case, news of his failed test came on August 8th 2012, and the NFL handed down his suspension on September 10th, after his appeal was heard.

[Related: Browns film room- Joel Bitonio]

WFNY’s State of the Browns: Wide Receivers

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The wide receiver position has become a big question mark for the Browns ever since reports of a possible Josh Gordon suspension. Gordon notwithstanding, the Browns have had a very eventful offseason in regards to the position. In the start of the free agency period, the Browns signed Andrew Hawkins from the Cincinnati Bengals. Later in the offseason, they added Nate Burleson from the Detroit Lions. Post-Gordon, they finished off the wide receiver position by adding Miles Austin from the Dallas Cowboys, Anthony Armstrong, and multiple undrafted free agents. The Browns are clearly looking for depth at the position because of the looming suspension of their Pro Bowl pass catcher.

Here is a look at the Browns wide receiver depth chart heading into training camp.  [Read more...]

Should NFL owner misdeeds cost a team draft picks?

Irsay Crime and Punishment

I recently read a piece of commentary by ESPN.com’s Jeffri Chadiha which pertained to the NFL and how it should punish Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay for his looming drug-related issues. This isn’t specifically Cleveland-related just yet, but it’s no small stretch to think that it could be someday. I don’t think Jimmy Haslam is going to get pulled over with bottles of pills and enough cash to buy a really nice Hyundai, but let’s just say there might come a time when the league could be put in a position of discipline over the Browns owner due to his off-field issues.

But back to Chadiha’s commentary. I found it notable because it indicated that Irsay’s penalty should be draft picks. I found that surprising and after thinking about it for a bit, I couldn’t disagree with him more.

[Read more...]

Chris Carter on Josh Gordon: Not everyone is in a position to be saved

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Having dealt with his own struggles with substance abuse before turning out a Hall of Fame NFL career, former wide receiver Chris Carter spoke candidly about maligned Browns receiver Josh Gordon and his potential suspension for violating the league’s policy on illegal drugs.

“It’s fairly obvious that [using substances] is more important to him than anything else,” Carter said to Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Mary Kay Cabot. “It’s always been very, very important to him. It’s well-documented that it’s been primary since early college. Maybe it even goes back to early high school.”

Carter, dealing with both drugs and alcohol early in his career, bottomed out after being cut by Buddy Ryan and the Philadelphia Eagles. It wasn’t until this moment when he went onto a long and stellar career with the Vikings, hauling in over 1000 passes for 12,000 yards and 111 touchdowns.

Gordon was recently the subject of a report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines which said the receiver tested positive for marijuana. It is believed that Gordon is in Stage 3 of the NFL’s drug policy and another test could very well make him unavailable for all of 2014. Gordon’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus is in the process of appealing the suspension.

“If the building is on fire and the person decides to stay in there, I don’t run in there and get him out,” said Carter. “If you see them breaking the glass, if you see them struggling and trying to get out — that’s my analogy of how I help out the guys in the league and the kids that really, really need help.

“Not everyone is in a position to be saved.”

Should the Browns part ways with Josh Gordon? While We’re Waiting

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Johnny Manziel may be getting all of the attention, but the bigger issue in Berea is that of wide receiver Josh Gordon. By now, you’ve heard that Gordon was pulled over on Memorial Day Weekend. He was only going 74 in a 60—hardly a criminal offense. The touchy part comes in the fact that one of the other three men in his car had a few leaves of marijuana on his person. Yes, Gordon’s technically in the clear, but you have to be all aboard the excuse train if you’re going to put the Pro Bowler in the clear.

The Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto penned a solid column this weekend that echoed much of what my feelings are on the matter. The guy can loaf through a week’s worth of practice and then rip off 200 yards. He can miss a year of football all together and then jump right in—at the NFL level—as if he’s playing a video game. In a vacuum, it’s easy to make excuses for the incredibly talented Gordon. The merits of marijuana and the NFL’s rules can be debated, but at the end of the day, they’re rules—ones that he’s very much aware of.

Whether or not he’s guilty of any alleged violations or has anything to do with what went on during the Memorial Day incident mean little in the grand scheme. It’s evident that Gordon’s decision making and priorities are not in line with that of the city or the team which employs him. Cutting him doesn’t make the team better, but damn if he isn’t putting everyone above him in a tough place.

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Check out contact rate heat maps on pitches thrown in the strike zone this season. One of them is Michael Brantley. The other is Mike Trout. Any guesses on which is which? Thanks, FanGraphs!

Mike Trout Heatmap Michael Brantley Heatmap

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Speaking of Johnny Manziel, his boy Drake dropped a new track late Sunday. It’s called 0-to-100/The Catch Up. It’s rare that a hip-hop track lasts six-plus minutes, but this one does just that thanks to some beat changes and a pseudo interlude of sorts. A lot will be made of this in the coming weeks as Drake alluded to a new album this coming spring in addition to referencing himself as “the greatest.” Kendrick Lamar’s new album is set to release this fall—it’s safe to assume he’ll have some thoughts on this matter. In the meantime, pretend that Drake the Person isn’t bordering on insufferable and give this track from Drake the Artist a quick listen. *Money Sign* (Lyrics are obviously not meant for work environments.)

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Lonnie Chisenhall, motivational speaker?

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ESPN The Magazine The World Cup is just a few weeks away from kicking off and WFNY’s Craig, Joe and Mitch have been killing it on our end. That said, you also should know by now that I’m a huge magazine nerd and the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine is fantastic—a must-read for any soccer fans.

There are two long form features from both Wright Thompson (another on Lionel Messi) and Grant Wahl (one on Clint Dempsey). A few of these pieces will leak out over time—as one of Thompson’s did last week—but there is so much more within the confines of those pages (like a two-page image on Cleveland’s own Stipe Miocic, for instance) that it’s worth anyone’s one-day Starbucks money.

You can thank me later.

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And finally: At WFNY, we’re very fortunate to have a quality community of readers that extends well beyond that of most web-based properties. We get a slew of pitches and the occasional submission, many of which we can’t use for a variety of reasons. This, however, was a bit different than most. Titled “On Dads, the Browns, and Cleveland,” Daniel King discusses the ties that bind for generations of Cleveland fans who have lived through the plight of being a fan in this here town. You can follow Daniel on Twitter at @d_king11. In the meantime, please enjoy his words.

“Punch to the gut,” is a cliché used often while receiving difficult news. Never have I understood this more than when I learned that my father had been diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal cancer one year ago this June. I felt our pain was shared. My insides twisted, muscles ached, and eyes burned. Death was not an aspect of life I had ever faced. Death was a headline, a Facebook Status about a grandparent, or losing the family pet. Sitting next to my father in the hospital, holding back tears and feeling my lips quivering were the most difficult hours of my life. I wanted to tell him everything that I was always scared to say because I didn’t want to be a sissy. The certain sentences that existed in the space between us but were never formally communicated. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him, but could not utter that sentence without breaking down completely. I was instructed by my sister to “hold it together,” and I did for the most part. I could not look at my sisters or him in the eye. My sisters and I asked him if he had any sort of bucket list: “Well…I’d like to make it to the Browns’ opener.”

After my Dad’s consistent desire to be a hardass resulted in us not getting a ride to the stadium that night for the Browns-Bills game, we settled on parking in the bowels of downtown Cleveland: Underneath Tower City. I had made this walk what seems like thousands of times with him, usually in treacherous conditions with me bitching about not parking closer. “It’s fun to walk through downtown in the weather,” he would say. Yeah, that is the type of stuff he takes pleasure in. This time it was 70 degrees. It was a pleasant walk through the city center as we approached the stadium. The smell of alcohol, urine, and desperation fill my nostrils despite my attempts to strictly breathe through my mouth. Cleveland smells exactly what outsiders think it smells like. My jaded view of the Browns is inescapable. Another death march down Lakeside. I’m sober, which is frustrating. Being sober at a Browns game amongst the scores of drunks is awkward. But my dad is not sober. He’s drunk off of the Browns.

“Run it down their f— throats,” is something my dad says when the Browns get near the goal line last night. “Run it down their f— throats again,” is something he says when their first running attempt gets stuffed at the goal line. I feel awkward when he says things like this, but after awhile I realize I’m the outsider here. I’m sober. I began to let my guard down, and admire my dad’s appreciation for The Browns. It’s so communal. Everyone in our section knows him and it’s hilarious. They laugh when he yells ridiculous obscenities, and treat it as if he said something so expected they hardly flinch. It’s his family, too. I will say something once in awhile to my Dad. “Weeden can make those sideline throws at least,” for example. But I don’t participate in the obscure yelling in the general direction of the field. My Dad sneaks off to smoke a cigarette. He has given up on cancer, but here we are pretending that Brandon Weeden is a capable quarterback.

The beginning of the game is exactly like every other Browns game I’ve been to with my Dad. The excitement is building during the walk to the stadium, the crowd is in a frenzy, and then the Browns start playing football. We’re losing 10-0 quickly, and our starting QB who happens to be a St. Ignatius alum, appears to have the sliding ability of Jason Giambi. This game is different. The crowd is beyond its usual drunken whirl. The Browns are getting lucky, generally getting outplayed in the first half, but making up for it by special teams dominance.

It’s halftime, and the Browns are celebrating Jim Brown’s legacy. My dad says to me twice, “Greatest player I ever saw,” as if I needed to hear it twice so it sinks in. He has said this to me an estimated 10,000 times in my life. He tears up. I think he loves Jim Brown the player because of what he represents to his childhood. This moment is surreal because I see my dad survey the scope of his life in terms of Jim Brown. He saw Jim Brown player when he was 12 years old. Jim Brown has grown old with my father, and here they are for one final salute to each other. It’s a moment. I begin to think of me seeing LeBron when I’m older. I can’t fathom it. He’ll always be 26 year old LeBron; the youthful kid from Akron messing around in the pre-game warm-ups. Kyrie will always be this young. There is no old version of Kyrie Irving.

The Browns win, and we exit the stadium to raucous applause. I imagine my Dad leaving the stadium taking a bow, tipping his hat to the crowd. This is a new memory. It won’t be confused with the many other Sunday afternoons of leaving disappointed and with the feeling of being ripped off. My dad might not go on a profanity laced tirade when we get to the car this time. He keeps smiling and fist pumping, and no matter what I will make this the last memory. This is the memory that will be exaggerated by me in 20 years when I’m telling this story.

We walk up the hill for the last time ever together. The finality of the moment is devastating. He’s struggling to get up the hill, and I want to carry him to the car. We talk about the Browns, and then it is silent again. The words are dancing between us this time, dissolving into the downtown fall morning. Decades of unsaid admiration remain unsaid, but the time for goodbyes isn’t now. The Browns have won and that is all that matters. Ironically, I conclude how the Browns have been such a consistent part of our relationship; a talking point that can break the awkward silence during any time of year. It has been tough for me to justify being a Browns fan, but now I get it—and it’ll never be forgotten.

Report: Josh Gordon gets speeding ticket, passenger cited with marijuana

PhotoJosh Gordon just can’t keep his name out of the spotlight for negative reasons. This time, Gordon was cited for speeding in Strongsville over Memorial Day weekend. Meanwhile, his passenger was cited for possession of marijuana, according to WKYC.

“According to the citation, Gordon’s 2014 grey Mercedes-Benz SUV was clocked going 74 miles an hour in a 60-mile-per-hour zone north of state route 82 on Interstate 71 North at 9:43 p.m. on Sunday, May 25.

Gordon is summoned to appear in court on Wednesday, June 4 to dispute the citation.

“We are gathering information regarding the situation,” Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement released by the team. “We will not have any further comment until the appropriate time.””

While we await the NFL’s ruling on Gordon’s reported failed drug test, according to ESPN, this is about the last thing you want to hear. You would think when you’re potentially facing a year-long ban from football that you’d try to keep a low-profile. You would also think that you might want to start changing the company you keep if they do something for recreational purposes that your employer does not permit when you clearly don’t have the discipline to deal with that. But that’s the problem. Josh Gordon doesn’t think. The third-year wideout has all the talent in the world and can’t comply with the NFL’s rules, regardless of your opinion on the validity of punishment for marijuana use in the NFL.

In a silo, this wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it’s just part of a large pattern of reckless driving, drug use, and simply not following the rules that shows why the Browns aren’t counting on him for squat in 2014. There’s a lot to be excited about with the Browns, and Gordon’s wet blanket act is getting really old.

The Browns have signed Miles Austin, Andrew Hawkins, Nate Burleson, and Earl Bennett along with releasing Greg Little, Davone Bess, and Josh Cooper to completely revamp their receiving corps. My hope is that Gordon will take whatever punishment the league hands him as a wake-up call and comeback fully determined to turn his act around, similar to what Joe Haden has done. Gordon’s costing himself millions upon millions of dollars because of his inability to follow the rules and increasingly pissing off a fan base that is begging to worship the Pro Bowl receiver.

Related: Strange clouds loom over Josh Gordon’s ongoing situation

Strange clouds loom over Josh Gordon’s ongoing situation

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So maybe Josh Gordon didn’t fail a drug test after all? As the Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver’s drug-related situtation continues to unfold, more and more wrinkles keep popping up. The latest comes from former Browns receiver Greg Little, who recently spoke about his friend’s alleged policy violation, calling it a “mistake.”

He’s a guy that’s going to work to get back and show this is a mistake,” Little told co-host Bill Polian and me about Gordon on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “It’s something that wasn’t in his control, so to speak. I don’t want to get into too much detail about it.”

ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported earlier this month that Gordon was headed for a year-long ban after failing a drug test for marijuana. Immediately following this report, Gordon’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, stated that his client did not fail a drug test. FOX Sports 1 NFL insider Mike Garafolo reported that Gordon had hoped to have the suspension reduced to four-to-six games upon appeal. But it is FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez who speculates that Gordon may have simply missed a drug test, as opposed to failing one.

Unfrortunately for Gordon and the Browns, a missed test is automatically considered a positive result under the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Neither the Browns nor Gordon’s camp have provided details on what exactly happened. Gordon has been taking part in team OTAs while he awaits the NFL’s ruling on the matter. In 2013, he hauled in 87 receptions for a league-high 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns despite missing the team’s first two games. He eventually represented the Browns in the Pro Bowl.

Photo: Candice Vlcek/WFNY

Josh Gordon appealing suspension, will participate in OTAs

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Does the T stand for “tease?” Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine recently told Cleveland media that Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon will participate in organized team activities (OTAs) this week as the team awaits word from the NFL regarding the player’s looming suspension. Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Mary Kay Cabot reports that “the expectation” is for Gordon to be hauling in passes from both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel as the league continues to deliberate on—well, who knows what.

Gordon was recently the subject of a report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines which said the receiver tested positive for marijuana. It is believed that Gordon is in Stage 3 of the NFL’s drug policy and another test could very well make him unavailable for all of 2014. Gordon’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus is in the process of appealing the suspension. If Gordon is suspended indefinitely, he would have to apply for re-instatement with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The NFL’s leading recevier in 2013, Gordon was suspended for two games for what was reported to be codeine.

In the wake of the report, the Browns have added veteran wide receviers Miles Austin and Earl Bennett in addition to several undrafted free agents.

“We have to build this team so that no one player drives the ship,” Pettine said. “That we can be insulated losing players for extended periods of time potentially is part of the game. Successful franchises are the ones that have enough depth built and enough options to account for it.”

Breaking down Johnny Manziel’s press conference after Browns rookie camp – WFNY Podcast – 2014-05-17

WFNY Podcast LogoI did a solo podcast today breaking down Johnny Manziel’s post-practice press conference.

What did he have to say about Loggains’ comments about his text messages during the draft.

Were the Browns the only team that Johnny Manziel was texting with during the draft?

Why did Johnny Manziel want to come to Cleveland?

How does Manziel feel about Texas A&M and “The House that Johnny Built?”

I comment on all of that.

Check out this episode!

Why Johnny Manziel should start…On the bench

Johnny Football Fan Art

Now that the Browns have drafted Johnny Manziel and are heading into rookie mini camp this weekend, the proclamations have begun. I’ll try not to create any straw men here, but I’m pretty confident most of us have heard variations on the following phrase. People say, “You don’t draft a guy in the first round to sit him on the bench.” Or more specifically to Johnny Manziel, “You don’t draft Johnny Football and then sit him behind Brian Hoyer.” There are these ideas that regardless of whether it’s Andrew Luck, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Christian Ponder or Ryan Tannehill, you just have to live by a clichéd statement disguised as a pseudo-intellectual philosophy. I don’t buy that there are hard fast rules for this and my preference is for Manziel to sit at the beginning.

[Read more...]

I’m not cheering the Greg Little release, but it’s no big deal

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And so the Greg Little era in Cleveland has come to a close. It’s not a day worth celebrating, that’s for sure. It’s never a good day when your team gives up on a second-round draft pick who was still playing under his rookie contract. It’s never a good day when your team is cutting a player under the age of 25 who has good size and passes the eye test as an athlete. Then again, all said and done, if you are a fan of a team and have any aspirations for that team to be successful, you might not want to get all caught up emotionally over a move like the Browns cutting Little. In the end, it’s just not that big of a deal.

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Browns reportedly sign wide receiver Earl Bennett

The Browns may have taken their first real step in adding an option to compensate for their lack of depth at wide receiver. Jake Jones of KFBB in Helena, Montana is reporting that the Browns have signed former Bears wide reciever Earl Bennett.

The 27-year-old Bennett caught 32 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns last season, his sixth with the Bears after being selected in the 3rd round in 2008. The 6-foot wideout was on the field for just under 54% of the team’s snaps last season, but he was primarily used as an underneath option, with 26 of his 32 receptions coming from passes shorter than 10 yards. The Bears cut their third receiver after he refused to take a pay cut on March 18th.

With Josh Gordon facing a potential year-long suspension, the Browns have free agent signees Andrew Hawkins and Nate Burleson (who broke his arm in training camp) along with incumbents Greg Little, Josh Cooper, Travis Benjamin, Tori Gurley, and Charles Johnson. They also signed undrafted free agents Chandler Jones, Jonathan Krause, Kenny Shaw, and Willie Snead following last weekend’s draft.

The Browns weren’t going to replace the threat that is Josh Gordon, though a second or third round selection at the position could have provided a player that would likely make an immediate impact and ease the blow. As it stands, the Browns will likely need to continue to puruse trade options or more cap casulaties to add another veteran option. Right now, they have a bunch of capable third and fourth receivers without any proven legit first or second options.

Related: Browns Film Room: A look at Justin Gilbert