Browns wisely refuse to talk about Josh Gordon


On Friday, ESPN reported that Browns receiver Josh Gordon faces a season-long suspension for his latest violation of the substance-abuse policy.

On Friday night, Browns G.M. Ray Farmer wisely declined to discuss the situation.

“I know there’s been a lot of shocking supposedly news that we’re not going to comment on in regards to Josh Gordon,” Farmer told reporters. “We’re not going to comment on our players’ health status and anyone that’s on this roster.”

It’s the smart move, because the substance-abuse policy contains a confidentiality clause that imposes a $500,000 penalty for any violation of it. (Never mind the fact that it was violated by someone or we wouldn’t know about the potential Josh Gordon suspension.)  No information about a positive test should emerge until a player is suspended and the suspension has been finalized after the appeal process.

Since Farmer didn’t initially explain it that way, he faced several follow-up questions from reporters who, whether they knew it or not, were trying to get Farmer to say something that would get him in hot water with 345 Park Avenue.

Why won’t you answer questions about player health status?

“I think the regards of any players’ status, with regards to their contract or their health, it’s a private matter,” Farmer said. “To that end, I would say that it doesn’t behoove anyone if the player isn’t going to miss any time from any games that may be played.”

Did you know about the possible suspension before the draft?

“I opened the press conference with the idea that we’re not going to comment about anything that has to do with Josh Gordon or any status of our players, in regards to their health,” Farmer said”

Why are you not commenting on this?

“To the end that the league has really stated what we can say and what we cannot say,” Farmer said. “Until we have definitive clarity as to what those things are, we’re going to remain silent.”

The questions then shifted, but not by much. Farmer was asked if the news regarding Gordon undermines an otherwise big day for the franchise.

“I think it still is a big day for the Browns,” Farmer said. “We picked up three good football players. We went into this draft, and we had an opportunity to acquire players, and we did just that. The first young man that we took [offensive lineman] Joel Bitonio, is going to help this football team tremendously, as well as [linebacker] Christian Kirksey, as well as [running back] Terrance West.”

Farmer defended not drafting a receiver despite the Gordon situation and the broken arm reportedly suffered by Nate Burleson by relying on the notion that the team has time to address situations like the one he won’t talk about.

“I’m not concerned with the depth at wide receiver because we play games in September, and right now there’s still plenty of opportunity for us to acquire players and to make things happen,” Farmer said. “Whether it’s trades, whether it’s drafting someone the next day, whether it’s players that get cut or we acquire somebody from the street. There’s always opportunities to acquire players. From our perspective, that where we’re focused on is using every opportunity to acquire players that become available.”

It’s a fair point, and it could make Browns fans wonder why they didn’t try to trade for Stevie Johnson. It makes us wonder whether Santonio Holmes will become an option for the Browns at some point.  Or whether they’d consider signing Jimmy Graham to an offer sheet and using him as a receiver to go along with tight end Jordan Cameron.

Regardless, the fact that Farmer didn’t call the report about a potential Gordon suspension absolutely, positively false means that there’s something to it.  If Gordon ultimately ends up not being available for 2014, the Browns will have a huge hole to fill in their offense.

32 responses to “Browns wisely refuse to talk about Josh Gordon

  1. Assuming it’s true about Gordon, it’s bad news for the Browns this season. About the last thing they needed, both on the field, and from a PR standpoint, was to get blindsided by something like this, just when things were really looking up for them, and their fans were getting very excited. No matter how they spin it, if Josh Gordon is gone for the entire 2014 season, it’ll be a major blow for the Browns.

  2. ok – so why didn’t they draft a WR knowing could be w/o gordon? like some of the moves they’ve made in draft but this is typical bonehead move

  3. Just another idiot, who is going to be suspended for the season, where is his brain? Obviously doesn’t have one, and is very selfish to his team mates. Johnny Football will have to find someone else to throw to.

  4. so, he said he’s not going to talk about it, and when he doesn’t talk about it you automatically think there is something to it. creating a story where there may not be one.

  5. That’s what you fools get for giving me 321 thumbs down when I said:

    “REMIND ME: Who are Cleveland’s wide receivers???

    Oh, that’s right… they only have one wide receiver (Josh Gordon).

    Cameron is nice… but… a team doesn’t win with one receiver and a tight end in the modern pass happy NFL.

    Have a nice season, Johnny.

    The poor guy will get all the blame when they replace Bess and Little with two less experienced and equally as bad receivers.”


  6. So, when is the NFL going to ban Jim Irsay? I mean, if weed gets 1 year, trafficking amounts of drugs and tens of thousands of dollars should get a lifetime ban, right?

  7. I’ve said this whole time draft Sammy Watkins. With Houston drafting Clowney, Rams grabbing Roberston, and Jacksonville taking Bortles.. I thought to myself holy hell are we sitting pretty at four.

    INSTEAD we pull another Cleveland move to trade back to the 9th pick and for Buffalo’s first and fourth next year. At some point we NEED talent instead of always trading back.

    We need offense people.. its been our problem for the past 15 years. and what do we do with the 9th pick. Trade up for our 5th round for a CB who we probably reached for and the vikings probably weren’t even going to take in the first place.

    Then we take a QB at 22 who is a high-risk; high-reward.

    This draft for us is either going to be a huge bust or a huge success. Either way we neeeded to come out of the draft with a WR and especially Josh Gordon will most likely be suspended..

  8. I was doubting this Browns’ hire from Day One with all that mess with Lombardi etc, but this guy really impresses me the way he handled the draft and how he handles pressers—-I wish him well and his team well.

  9. This isn’t about Manziel.
    This is about Hoyer, who will be scrutinized by the Manziel Fan Club at ESPN at every twist and turn, until he’s run out of Cleveland. Hoyer, not Manziel, is the one who will feel the brunt of not having capable receivers.

  10. This is what I dont get. In Colorado, it’s legal. In the NFL it isn’t. I wont condemn Josh Gordon because if he has a problem with substance abuse, he has a deeper problem and I hope he gets help. Its just a shame that he might lose his career and alot of money too. Not a position I’d want to see anyone in.

  11. Farmer, what are you doing? You pass on WRs and now every other GM in the league knows you need one, so your leverage is gone for a trade. Gordon is out, Burleson is old and broke his arm (again) and the next best receiver is Greg Little. FYI, defenses are not scared of Greg Little.

  12. Cleveland is funny about their quarterback allegiances.

    LOVE Akili Quinn
    HATE Derek Anderson
    LOVE Bernie Kosar
    HATE Tim Couch
    LOVE Otto Graham
    HATE Brandon Weeden
    LOVE Brian Hoyer

  13. Someone needs to have the guys to speak out against the NFL’s antiquated and draconian drug policy.

  14. I am not a Browns fan at all but this news bums me out. I like to see teams that have suffered through losing seasons rise out of it. Cleveland has made a lot of good moves and it is pretty crappy to have setbacks that are for selfish reasons. I have never been to Cleveland but I can imagine that all the fans are excited about the future of this team…and Gordon has not just let down himself, teammates, coaches, but also a city.

  15. How about asking ESPN how TJ Quinn is reporting confidential test results, again. It’s only supposed to become public AFTER all appeals have been exhausted. I wish MLB & NFL would suspend this guy’s press credentials and restrict his access to teams until he comes clean on his sources. This is Sports not Watergate.

  16. He knows the rules, he broke the rules. He had two strikes against him. He’s obviously a knucklehead and lacks maturity. Glad to see he could make the talk show circuit and comment about who we should draft on Twitter… Cut him.

  17. Ouch ouch ouch. Trade down when arguably the best overall offensive player of the draft is right in front of you? And you’ve known about Gordon possibly missing the year 2 weeks prior to the draft? I know how this will play out…. “With the 4th overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, Cleveland selects… the most un logical player possible…”

  18. Yes, but they were unwise to skip on WRs in Rounds 2 and 3.

    Cleveland is terrible because they do harm to themselves.

    There is no curse, there’s stupidity and failure for backup plans.

    The easiest way to have a backup plan is by having as many “draftable” or roster worthy players as possible because you should make the 46 man active roster first, the last 7 in overall roster next, and then the practice squad last.

    By taking players that they don’t need early (ie Barkevious Mingo and Justin Gilbert) they already give us the most obvious hint: “we’re going to stink.”

    The Colts, Seahawks, Patriots, Bengals, and Saints don’t do this.

    Clearly, the Browns will never understand this and now they’ll be where they deserve to be … at a laugh factory.

  19. Looks like another 4-5 win season this year. Might as well let Johnny start. Baptism by fire. Let’s see if he’s got what it takes or draft another QB next year when the selection is much better.
    Groundhog Day in Cleveland.

  20. The Cleveland Browns have signed VINCE YOUNG”…..
    CLEVELAND, you may have just found some “Texas Tea” (Black Gold) in Vince Young…If you are willing to utilize his strengths, there is no telling how far the Browns can go…. Vince is motivated and determined to show he can play this game at a high level…. His career record of 31-19 tells you he know how to WIN games…
    With all the Johnny Manziel press…… Don’t give up on Vince Young just yet….
    Vince is 6 feet 5, bigger, stronger, faster and is a proven talent in the NFL…

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