Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is facing a potential year-long suspension by the NFL after reportedly failing a drug test. He hired the attorney who helped Richard Sherman get a four-game suspension overturned, but given Gordon’s checkered history, going back to college, it didn’t seem likely that he stood much of a chance of playing for Cleveland this season.
However, a report by ProFootball Talk indicates that Gordon may have a compelling case. Gordon, because of a previous infraction that landed him a two-game suspension to start the 2013 season, is in a league-mandated program that tests him for drugs up to 10 times a month. According to the report, he has passed 70 tests, and could, in fact, have passed the one he failed (barely), with a little better luck.
Gordon submits urine samples, which are then divided into two containers, randomly marked either A or B. If the A sample reveals a substance amount higher than the threshold — 15 nanograms per milliliter — then the B sample is tested. Apparently, the B sample doesn’t even have to also register above the threshold, it just needs to have a detectable amount of the substance in question.
That’s what reportedly happened in Gordon’s case. His A sample registered slightly above 15 ng/ml at 16, while the B sample came in at 13.6. If the samples had been randomly marked the other way, so that the sample at 13.6 ng/ml was tested first, Gordon wouldn’t even have failed at all.
Gordon’s 2013 suspension was over codeine use, and in this one, marijuana is the substance in question. His lawyers plan to argue that Gordon ingested it in the form of second-hand smoke, and they may try to point out irregularities in the way his failed drug test was handled.
Source told http://t.co/o11vJSPcn2 no one has won 2nd-hand smoke appeal in NFL, but no one has had control test under NFL cutoff of 15 ng
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) July 30, 2014
The NFL’s ultimate ruling will have major repercussions for the Browns, not to mention (ahem) fantasy football players. Gordon, even after that two-game suspension, led the NFL in receiving yards last season. His unexpected presence this season would be a major boost to the Browns’ passing attack, which could be directed by Johnny Manziel.