CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns may soon learn whether they’ll have Josh Gordon this season.
The Pro Bowl wide receiver will have an appeal hearing with NFL officials in New York on Aug. 1, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.
The game-breaking playmaker is facing a possible one-year ban for violating the league’s substance abuse policy for at least the third time. Gordon, who had a history of marijuana abuse in college, was suspended for the first two games last season. He still led the NFL with 1,646 yards receiving.
According to reports, Gordon recently checked himself into rehab following an arrest in North Carolina. ESPN’s Adam Shefter said Gordon spent two weeks at a facility in California.
The Browns have been patiently waiting for a resolution on Gordon’s playing status, and his uncertain future has left a cloud over the team. The Browns first learned of a potential extended suspension on the second day of the NFL draft in May. The ESPN report doused the optimism created after the Browns, who have had only two winning seasons since 1999, drafted quarterback Johnny Manziel.
On Wednesday, Pettine told the AP he’s not consumed with worry about whether he’ll have Gordon.
“The frustration has really faded,” Pettine said. “It’s just something that’s there. It’s equivalent of having that file folder with all the answers in it and it’s sitting there ready to go. It’s just got a lot of dust. We’re just waiting to hear from the league and we’ll act accordingly.”
If Gordon loses his appeal, he could be banned by Commissioner Roger Goodell for a minimum of one year. He would then have to apply for re-instatement.
Gordon has complicated his case with two recent legal infractions. He was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after speeding down a street in Raleigh, North Carolina, last month. In May, he was ticketed for speeding in Ohio, and a passenger in his car was cited for marijuana possession.
Pettine said the Browns have no plans to release Gordon. The team intends to support him and give him any help he may need.
“Josh is a Cleveland Brown and we want what’s best for him and we want what’s best for us,” Pettine said. “He’s smart. He’s bright. He’s creative. He’s a guy that in a lot of ways that you root for.”
Gordon’s off-field issues didn’t put him out of shape.
The embattled Pro Bowl wide receiver reported to Browns training camp on Friday and passed his conditioning test as he awaits an appeal hearing with the NFL on a possible suspension.
Looking fit and fast, Gordon participated with Cleveland’s other veterans in the grueling conditioning test.
As first-year coach Mike Pettine, general manager Ray Farmer and the team’s quarterbacks, rookies and injured players looked on, Gordon and others ran 20 sprints they had to finish in mandated times.
Mammoth defensive tackle Phil Taylor did not complete the sprints, and tight end Gary Barnidge looked woozy as he was helped off the field by trainers before being driven on a cart to the team’s headquarters.
Safety Donte Whitner finished the test by doing a somersault over the goal line. He slowly walked into the training facility escorted by a trainer.
It’s the first time in years the Browns have had their conditioning test open to the media.