The Browns will open the regular season without No. 1 receiver Josh Gordon.
Gordon was suspended without pay for the team’s first two regular-season games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Friday afternoon.
Gordon was also fined two additional game checks.
“In February, I was diagnosed with strep throat for which a doctor prescribed antibiotics and cough medicine," Gordon said in a statement. "Apparently, the medicine I took contained codeine, which is prohibited by the NFL policy. 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. 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 three.”
Gordon is eligible to practice and play throughout the preseason, then can return to the team Sept. 16, the Monday of Week 3. He will miss the opener vs. Miami and Week 2 in Baltimore.
“Obviously we are all disappointed in this news,” coach Rob Chudzinski said in a statement. “In our short time with Josh, he has done everything that we’ve asked him to do and he has exhibited substantial improvement.
“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.”
Gordon, 22, was chosen in the second round of the supplemental draft in July, despite failing multiple drug tests in college. He caught 50 passes for 805 yards and five touchdowns.
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