CLEVELAND — Josh Gordon’s wait is over, and so is his 2014 season. Now the star wide receiver’s career is in peril.
The Browns learned Wednesday that Gordon’s indefinite suspension by the NFL has been upheld and he will miss at least 16 games for another violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. A repeat drug offender, Gordon had appealed the penalty, hoping it would be reduced so he could play this season.
The NFL, though, came down hard on Gordon, who must now pay the price for stepping out of bounds.
The league announced that arbitrator Harold Henderson supported Gordon’s yearlong suspension for marijuana use. The Pro Bowler, who was subject to more frequent testing, will begin serving his suspension immediately and the league said in its statement that his “eligibility for reinstatement will be determined following the 2014 season.”
In the meantime, Gordon is not allowed to practice with the team, attend meetings or other club functions.
Browns general manager Ray Farmer expressed some disappointment at the decision, but said the team has no choice but to move ahead without Gordon.
“While we may have strong feelings on the timing and the process of this decision, we have also consistently communicated that we will focus on what we can control in our day to day approach,” Farmer said in a statement. “Right now that is preparing our team for the 2014 season and at the same time, supporting Josh however we are able under NFL guidelines during his suspension.”
The Browns had feared for months this would be the outcome, and now that it’s official, the club will have to somehow make up for the league-leading 1,646 yards, 18.9 yards per catch and nine touchdowns Gordon produced last season.
“I’d like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans,” Gordon said in a statement. “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.”
CARROLL DISAPPOINTED BY PENALTIES: In Renton, Washington, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he’s disappointed his team has been docked two practices next offseason for excessive physical contact in a minicamp in June.
The league confirmed the penalties on Tuesday.
“We don’t want to do things wrong,” Carroll said following practice Wednesday. “We want to do things right. I’d like to show exactly how to do it. When you’re competing like we do, we’re trying to do things the best you can possibly do it. Unfortunately, this incident makes it look otherwise.”
Seattle will be docked the first two days of its 2015 mandatory minicamp and will be permitted one 2 1/2-hour practice on the final day. Seattle’s players will be paid for all three days of the camp. The minicamp this past June was marred by a fight between All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and wide receiver Phil Bates that was caught by television cameras. Carroll confirmed that fight was a part of the focus by the league that led to the penalties.
WARE WILL SIT OUT FIRST VISIT TO COWBOYS: In Arlington, Texas, DeMarcus Ware won’t play in his first visit to Dallas almost six months after the Cowboys released their franchise sack leader and he signed with Denver.
Henry Melton, one of several defensive linemen trying to fill Ware’s void, should make his Dallas debut in the preseason finale against the Broncos on Thursday night.
The 32-year-old Ware said it will be different “on the other side of the bar.”
And it will only be a social visit because most starters for both teams, including Peyton Manning and Tony Romo, won’t play.
Ware spent nine seasons with the Cowboys. Melton, a defensive tackle, joined Dallas as a free agent from Chicago. He hasn’t played since tearing a knee ligament in Week 3 last year.
TEAM BUS IN ACCIDENT BEFORE PACKERS GAME: In Grand Chute, Wis., authorities say a bus taking the Kansas City Chiefs to their Wisconsin hotel was involved in an accident.
The Outagamie (County sheriff’s office said it was escorting the Chiefs’ five buses from the airport to the hotel Wednesday afternoon when a vehicle entered the intersection and collided with one of the buses.
Two adults and three children were in the vehicle that struck the bus. One of the children had a minor cut to the head and was taken by ambulance to a hospital.
No one on the Chiefs’ bus was hurt. The Chiefs face Green Bay on Thursday night in a preseason game.
DRONE WITH CAMERA SPOTTED OVER STADIUM: In Charlotte, N.C., police in North Carolina briefly detained and questioned a man who flew a drone with a camera mounted on it over a stadium during an NFL preseason game.
Area news media outlets report that the drone was spotted during the Aug. 17 game between the Carolina Panthers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
The Federal Aviation Administration limits aircraft use near major sporting events, and prohibits unmanned aircraft at sites designated as “Class B” venues, which includes Bank of America Stadium.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police department spokesman Rob Tufano did not say what explanation the drone operator gave for using the prohibited aircraft. He said information obtained during questioning was turned over to the FAA, which has jurisdiction in such matters.