When the Ravens square off with the Cleveland Browns in the second game of the season, their defense won't have to account for wide receiver Josh Gordon in coverage.
Gordon is suspended for the first two games of the regular season without pay, including a Sept. 15 game against the Ravens, as well as being fined two additional game checks for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy.
Gordon caught 50 passes for 805 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie after being selected in the second round of the NFL supplemental draft last year. Gordon issued a statement where he says he took cough medicine that included codeine, a banned substance.
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"In February, I was diagnosed with strep throat for which a doctor prescribed antibiotics and cough medicine," Gordon said. "Apparently, the medicine I took contained codeine, which is prohibited by the NFL policy. The policy terms are strict about unintentional ingestion, but the NFL has not imposed the maximum punishment in light of the facts of my case. Therefore, I have chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation. I sincerely apologize for the impact on my team, coaches, and Browns fans. I look forward to working hard in training camp and pre-season, and contributing immediately when I return in week three.”
The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder caught three passes for 54 yards in two starts against the Ravens last season, but improved his production toward the end of the season and averaged 16.1 yards per catch.
Gordon was suspended at Baylor following an arrest involving marijuana and has acknowledged a history of failed drug tests. He transferred to Utah after getting in trouble at Baylor.
Gordon is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.
“Obviously we are all disappointed in this news," Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said in a statement. "In our short time with Josh, he has done everything that we’ve asked him to do and he has exhibited substantial improvement. We believe that he will continue to work diligently through training camp and the preseason. I am confident that others will step up in his absence.”