Unless the NFL indeed announces the Josh Gordon suspension as part of a late Friday afternoon news dump, a decision on his appeal won’t be announced today. Which will mean that 18 days have passed without a resolution.
The substance-abuse policy requires a decision from the hearing officer within a “reasonable time.” It doesn’t specify or define “reasonable.”
In contrast, the PED policy specifically requires a decision to be made within five days after the conclusion of an appeal hearing.
Setting aside for now the failure of the NFL or the NFLPA to demand a specific deadline, the use of five days under one policy could become relevant in determining whether 18 days is “reasonable.” Which could give Gordon something/anything on which to mount a legal challenge, if/when a decision finally is made.
Unless hearing officer Harold Henderson issues a decision in the next hour or two or over the weekend, the ruling will come at least 21 days after the hearing ended. The problem for Gordon and the Browns comes from the reality that, if he’s suspended for a full year, he’ll be banished for a full calendar year — 365 days. Which means that he won’t be eligible for reinstatement until the last couple of weeks before the start of the 2015 regular season.
Word of the proposed suspension first emerged in May. When it comes to a full-year suspension, the process needs to move a lot more quickly. With the first game of the regular season only 16 days away, this specific appeals process couldn’t have moved much more slowly.