Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon can’t play in the CFL during NFL suspension

(Tony Dejak/AP)

It looks like Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon won’t be heading north while serving his one-year NFL suspension. Per ESPN:

Sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen earlier Thursday that Gordon would explore the possibility of playing in the CFL for the remainder of its season, but an NFL source told ESPN’s Pat McManamon that provisions in his Browns contract would prevent him from doing so.

A CFL official said that, under its rules, Gordon would not be eligible to play because teams are prohibited from signing a suspended player of any league who is under contract with his league.

The NFL upheld the year-long suspension on Wednesday when arbitrator Harold Henderson denied Gordon’s appeal. Gordon, as well as his supporters, expressed their disappointment with the league’s decision, which some pointed out seemed excessive compared to the violation.

Gordon, who’s had trouble passing drug tests since college, is a repeat offender, which certainly played a part in determining the length of his suspension. That said, many have questioned the particulars of the suspension, which prohibits Gordon participating in team practices or other team-related activities. In effect, he is isolated, and now with the CFL also not allowing him to play, Gordon has been all but banned from all North American professional football. ESPN’s Trey Wingo questions the nature of the NFL’s suspension policies and its effect on a player like Gordon, who seems to need structure to thrive.

While perhaps the NFL will rethink its suspension policy in the future, for now, Gordon will have to deal with his. The earliest he could be back with the Browns is for next year’s preseason, but the NFL will have to grant him a special injunction for that to happen within the next year. Gordon will also have to pass NFL drug tests, which could be easier said than done for the young man who has a history, especially now that he has so much enforced free time.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.



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