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Saturday, May 10, 2014
Ray Farmer: Frustration is natural

By Pat McManamon
ESPN.com

BEREA, Ohio -- General manager Ray Farmer understands any frustration Cleveland Browns fans may feel about Josh Gordon's potential yearlong ban from the NFL.

Though Farmer said he can't speak specifically about the "Outside the Lines" report that Gordon has failed another drug test, this time for marijuana, he did address the feelings of fans.

"Frustration is a natural part of it," he said after the Browns had picked six players in the NFL draft -- but no receivers. "I think that's what was felt and heard when that announcement was made. I don't fault the fans for their reaction. I don't fault anyone for being disappointed. To that end, our job (is to make that) less painful.

"It's no different than if a player was going out during the offseason and broke an ankle or tore an ACL playing pickup hoops or doing something different. We have to build a football team that can win regardless of who's missing."

News of Gordon's potential suspension broke less than 24 hours after fans exulted at the drafting of quarterback Johnny Manziel on Thursday night.

Even with the Gordon news, the Browns didn't use any of their draft picks on a receiver. (Four undrafted receivers -- Chandler Jones of San Jose State, Kenny Shaw of Florida State, Willie Snead of Ball State, and Blake Jackson of Oklahoma State -- did say on Twitter that they agreed to free agent deals with the team after the draft.)

Farmer calmly said he's not worried.

"Patience really tells the tale," he said.

He also said to look at the receivers on the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

"The vast majority were not drafted," Farmer said. "You find players when you give players an opportunity to contribute."

He also pointed to the New York Giants' Victor Cruz as a player few knew who ultimately took advantage of the chance he was given.

"There's plenty of opportunity for us to address what everyone would believe is a need," Farmer said. "But in our opinion there's plenty of opportunity to add players, to change the roster and really make a difference."

Farmer also made sure to add that owner Jimmy Haslam stayed hands off during the draft.

"I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that Jimmy Haslam at no point demanded, requested, tried to influence the process in any way," Farmer said. "He definitely asked questions, he'll definitely give his opinion of what he thinks. All those things are fine.

"But at the end of the day he trusted the football staff to make the football decisions that we think are right for the football team."