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Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Pro Football Talk: No Gordon date set yet

By Pat McManamon

Pro Football Talk dropped a thorny item on the Josh Gordon issue, and it landed right in the lap of the Cleveland Browns.

The website reported on Monday that there is no hearing date set for Gordon’s appeal of his one-year minimum ban from the NFL. In addition, according to the website no talks have taken place on a settlement that might (emphasis on might) result in some sort of negotiated settlement, per a "source." That makes things difficult for the Browns come training camp and beyond.

Clearly, the Browns want some resolution on this case as soon as possible. The longer it drags out, the longer it affects their planning for the 2014 season. Imagine if Gordon goes through all or a healthy part of training camp not knowing his status for the season, taking reps from other guys who might need to play if he is suspended. Imagine the Browns trying to decide how best to prepare a new offense and its quarterbacks for the season unsure of what Gordon’s status will be.

In addition, the longer Gordon’s situation drags on this year, the more it will affect 2015 if a one-year suspension does come down. If Gordon is suspended in late August -- or even early September the way Joe Haden was in 2012 -- Gordon would not be eligible to return until that date a year from now. Which means not just one but two seasons would be jumbled.

Though PFT does mention a settlement -- much like Gordon was able to negotiate a year ago -- it adds that no talks have taken place. And it would be tough to see Gordon given much leniency given he was pulled over with the smell of marijuana wafting from his car over Memorial Day weekend.

It would be nice to blame the league for this situation. It would also be wrong. The program acts on its own time in situations like this, no doubt to ensure it follows all legalities. The responsibility for being in this position is the player's.

Whatever happens, the longer this drags on the more challenging it becomes for the Browns. In one sense, it’s no different than planning on having a player for the season who goes down with a knee injury, except in this case the lingering uncertainty is bothersome.