Cleveland Browns' Josh Gordon Faces Year Suspension For Second Failed Drug Test

By McCarton Ackerman 05/13/14

Despite a rising chorus supporting medical marijuana in professional sports, the NFL has maintained harsh punishments for players violating their increasingly outdated drug policy.

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The Cleveland Browns could be facing a major blow next season as their star wide receiver is facing a 12-month suspension for failing another drug test.

Josh Gordon reportedly tested positive for marijuana, his second violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy program. He was suspended for two games and given two additional game checks for a similar result last year. He is allegedly trying to get the suspension reduced to four-to-six games, although this appears unlikely. Gordon's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has since denied all reports related to a positive test.

Unfortunately, Gordon's issues with marijuana have been ongoing. He was suspended indefinitely from Baylor University after being arrested for marijuana possession just before the 2011 season. He applied for the supplemental draft shortly after and said he had learned from his mistake.

“Despite everything I’ve been through, despite being a kid with a spotty background, the Cleveland Browns stuck their neck out and risked taking me and put their faith and belief in me, and I won’t let them down,” Gordon told Doug Farrar. “I’m grateful, and I know I can’t go back to being the person I used to be.”

Since March 2013, numerous players have been suspended for violating the NFL's substance policy, including Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller and New York Jets tight end Kellen Winslow. Twenty-seven players have also been arrested on drug-and-alcohol related charges including possession, DUI, and public intoxication.

More than 10 NFL prospects also failed drug tests at a recent scouting combine, which raised particular concern because all the players knew well in advance that they would be screened. Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and Louisiana State University Zach Mettenberger were among the players who reportedly tested positive. Mettenberger's sample was diluted, which still counts as a positive test under the NFL policy, but his agents are challenging the result. They claimed he was drinking large quantities of water to rehydrate during a rehab session for a torn ACL.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.