CLEVELAND — Josh Gordon smiled as he walked off the field on an insufferably muggy day. Nothing, it seemed, was bothering him.
He peeled off his jersey, sweat streaking his face. The star receiver soon posted a photo on Instagram of him catching a pass from rookie Johnny Manziel.
“Only place I can find peace,” Gordon captioned the picture.
The football field is giving Gordon serenity. His time there be could be running out.
Gordon is still awaiting word from the NFL on whether he’ll be suspended for all or part of the upcoming season. Gordon, who led the league with 1,646 yards receiving last season, recently had his appeal hearing to fight a possible yearlong suspension for again violating the league’s substance-abuse program. He’s been practicing and playing for weeks amid uncertainty about his career.
The 23-year-old player has seemingly been in a fog, dropping passes during practices and preseason games. He hasn’t spoken to reporters for months.
“It’s definitely weighing on him,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. “He, like all of us, wants to know and wants to get on with it and move forward. Just kind of being in limbo for so long, it can be draining. He made the comment the other day that the football field is where he feels most at home.”
Gordon allegedly tested positive for marijuana during the offseason, violating the conditions required as a repeat offender under the league’s system. Last month, Gordon hired lawyer Maurice Suh to represent him at his appeal hearing before arbitrator Harold Henderson in New York.
Suh argued Gordon’s positive test was the result of secondhand smoke, a person familiar with the defense said.
Gordon played poorly in Monday night’s exhibition loss at Washington, and Pettine met with Gordon to discuss his overall lack of effort.
“He’s responded and has had some good practices for us,” Pettine said. “I just think, like all of us, it’s only natural that he’s frustrated.”
Like Gordon, the Browns have been anxious for a verdict. Losing the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder for any time could cripple Cleveland’s offense, depriving it of its top playmaker and quarterback Brian Hoyer’s primary target.
Manziel fined $12K
CLEVELAND — Johnny Manziel has been slapped on the finger.
The NFL fined the Browns rookie quarterback $12,000 on Friday for flipping his middle finger at Washington’s sideline.
Manziel said he was reacting to incessant taunting by the Redskins during Monday night’s nationally televised game when he made the gesture while running back to the Cleveland huddle.
His gesture was caught on camera.