NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala told NFL Network on Wednesday that the elongated timeline left the organization "extremely frustrated with the way that this dragged out."
It's hard to blame the Browns, who were forced to mine their way through an offseason fog without a clear picture of Gordon's availability for 2014. That disappointment was not hard to detect in general manager Ray Farmer's statement released Wednesday.
"While we may have strong feelings on the timing and the process of this decision, we have also consistently communicated that we will focus on what we can control in our day to day approach," Farmer said. "Right now that is preparing our team for the 2014 season and at the same time, supporting Josh however we are able under NFL guidelines during his suspension."
Coach Mike Pettine this week acknowledged that he expected the wideout to be lost for at least part of the season, but whispers of an all-or-nothing decision from arbitrator Harold Henderson kept a sliver of hope alive when none existed.
"We saw this week how visibly frustrated Mike Pettine was with this process," Kinkhabwala said. "He had been so careful not to call out the NFL, not to call out the arbitrator, but he said this week, 'Really, we are impatiently waiting.'
"And you know what? We saw last week during the preseason game when the Browns didn't play Josh Gordon. He was in full uniform, he was standing on the sideline, he had his helmet on, and he didn't get in at all, and that was because Mike Pettine said, 'I needed to see my other receivers. I know I'm not going to have Josh Gordon for at least some period of time. We need to know who else we have.'"
Kinkhabwala noted that "Gordon's head hasn't been in practice for at least the last three weeks -- he's been in this awful limbo."
So have the Browns. The team deserves criticism for failing to select a wideout in one of the richest receiver drafts in recent memory, but dragging this decision out beyond Tuesday's initial roster cuts was unnecessary.