Fantasy football analysts might be forced to come up with a new breakout candidate. Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has been suspended two games and fined four game checks by the NFL for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
In a statement, Gordon said the drug was codeine, and he took it because it was part of the medicine prescribed by a doctor for strep throat.
"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," Gordon said in the statement. "I sincerely apologize for the impact on my team, coaches, and Browns fans. I look forward to working hard in training camp and preseason, and contributing immediately when I return in Week 3."
This isn't Gordon's first time running afoul of a drug test. A failed marijuana test at Baylor resulted in an indefinite suspension and ultimately led Gordon to declare for the 2012 Supplemental Draft after sitting out a year at Utah.
Gordon's suspension would have been longer if college tests carried over to the NFL, according to ESPNCleveland.com.
The suspension might have factored into the Browns' decision to pull the trigger on the Davone Bess trade. Per Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio, the rumor of Gordon's suspension had been making the rounds since before the 2013 NFL Draft in April.
"Obviously we are all disappointed in this news. In our short time with Josh, he has done everything that we've asked him to do, and he has exhibited substantial improvement," Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said in a statement released by the team. "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."
Easily the most talented of the Browns' receivers, Gordon demonstrated big-play ability en route to 805 yards and five touchdowns on 50 receptions as a rookie. Quarterback Brandon Weeden recently proclaimed Gordon "has the ability to be a top-three receiver in this league."
This is a wake-up call for a talented young player who entered the NFL with questions surrounding his character and substance abuse history.
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.