Josh Gordon's fate for 2014 has finally been decided.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport broke the news Wednesday that the NFL has suspended the Cleveland Browns wide receiver for one season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, according to a source. NFL Media's Albert Breer reports that there is no avenue for reinstatement, according to two sources.
"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."
Last year's league-leading wideout has waited for word on his future since the second day of May's draft, when we first learned that Gordon faced a potentially lengthy suspension for a positive drug test. Gordon, who cannot be around the team's facility during the ban, was also suspended two games by the league last year for violating the substance-abuse policy.
In an effort to fight his punishment this year, Gordon's camp participated in a marathon appeal session earlier this month in front of arbitrator Harold Henderson.
"Appeals officer Harold Henderson has upheld the suspension for the 2014 NFL season of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. The suspension is effective immediately," the league said Wednesday in a statement.
Losing Gordon all but cripples Cleveland's meager passing offense, stripping the Browns of the most exciting playmaker they've employed since the team's return to the league in 1999. Gordon's monster 1,646-yard campaign came despite the then-second-year wideout playing just 14 games and catching balls from the likes of Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.
Back in May, the Gordon announcement demoralized a fan base still riding the wave of drafting Johnny Manziel. With the rookie quarterback on the bench and Cleveland's most reliable target banished into the wilderness, it's shaping up as another painful autumn by the shores of Lake Erie.