Eight days ago, Josh Gordon’s appeal hearing ended. Hearing officer Harold Henderson has not yet issued a decision.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the news is there is no news. No update, no development, no ruling.
The good news is that Gordon remains available to play until Henderson implements the suspension. The bad news is that, if Henderson eventually upholds the one-year suspension, Gordon will be gone for a full year. Not 16 games; a full year. If a decision comes today, Gordon becomes instantly banished until August 13, 2015 at the earliest.
The Browns should be upset. If the suspension, levied before the draft, had been resolved expeditiously, Gordon would have been back for most of the 2015 offseason program. Now, he’ll miss the full 2015 offseason, much of training camp, and at least one preseason game before he can even re-enter the building.
Of course, this assumes that Gordon will pass up to 120 drug tests during the 12 months of his suspension. If he doesn’t, it will be difficult for Gordon to be reinstated in time for the start of the 2015 offseason, if ever.
Henderson is required to issue a ruling within a “reasonable time” after the conclusion of the hearing. The term “reasonable time” doesn’t have a specific number attached to it; so far, the clock is at nine days and counting. In this specific case, it would have been far more reasonable and fair to resolve the case months ago.
And it ultimately would be entirely reasonable and fair to not suspend Gordon at all.