Unable to fix his mistakes but vowing not to repeat them, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon apologized for being suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Gordon, who emerged as a much-needed playmaker for Cleveland as a rookie last season, was suspended without pay in June by the league for the first two games of this season. Gordon will also forfeit two other game checks as part of his punishment.
On Monday, Gordon apologized for his misstep and promised to make amends with his teammates, Browns fans and Cleveland’s front office.
“This hurt a lot of people,” Gordon said.
Gordon would not go into any details about the reasons he was suspended, and referred to a statement he made last month shortly after the penalty was announced. Gordon said he used cough medicine containing codeine — a banned substance — while recovering from strep throat in February.
“The fact that it happened, it was beyond me,” Gordon said. “It’s one of those things you just really can’t control.”
Gordon also denied he has a substance-abuse problem. He has not yet spoken with members of Cleveland’s new front office about his issues. He was selected in last year’s supplemental draft by the team’s previous regime.
“I have not sat down with them, but I was told by other people that definitely they’re supporting me, in my corner,” he said. “That’s good to know. I’m definitely still trying to regain their trust and our front office’s trust, our team’s trust, just to prove to them that they can count on me.”
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski has met with Gordon, who caught 50 passes and led the Browns with 805 yards receiving and five touchdowns.
“Obviously I’m disappointed in the situation,” Chudzinski said. “It’s important that Josh understands what my expectations are. I’ve talked to him about that. He understands accountability and I expect him to work and do everything he can to be the very best player he can be in the meantime and we’ll go from there.”
Gordon, who was twice suspended at Baylor for using marijuana, said he has assured Chudzinski he has learned from the experience.
“Accountability is a big issue,” he said. “We’re definitely planning for the future. We’re looking forward to the things we can do beyond this point. I can’t really sit back and just think about the past and things that’s happened. We’re really looking forward to what we can do from here on out.”
Gordon was reminded he said something similar a year ago, but stumbled. He was asked if he had to prove himself all over.
“I really don’t feel that way,” he said. “I’m still working towards it but that’s something that’s in the past. I still have a long way to go, a lot to prove to the fans here. This is another obstacle in my way.”
This is the second straight year the Browns will be missing a key player to open the season because of a suspension. Last year, star cornerback Joe Haden missed the first four games for a drug violation and the Browns went 0-4 without him