New York, NY – Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has been suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season for violating the NFL's Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
Gordon, who led the Browns with 805 receiving yards and five touchdown catches on 50 receptions as a rookie last season, will also not be paid for an additional two games as part of his penalty. He will be eligible to participate in the preseason.
The 22-year-old claimed his positive test was due to an antibiotic he was prescribed that contained codeine, which is on the NFL's list of banned substances.
"In February, I was diagnosed with strep throat for which a doctor prescribed antibiotics and cough medicine," said Gordon in a statement. "Apparently, the medicine I took contained codeine, which is prohibited by the NFL policy. The policy terms are strict about unintentional ingestion, but the NFL has not imposed the maximum punishment in light of the facts of my case. Therefore, I have chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation. I sincerely apologize for the impact on my team, coaches, and Browns fans."
Gordon did fail a drug test for using marijuana while a collegian at Baylor in 2011, which led to his dismissal from the Bears' program. He transferred to Utah as a result but never played for the Utes, then declared for last year's supplemental draft and was taken by Cleveland in the second round.
Expected to be one of the Browns' starting wideouts, Gordon will sit out the team's Sept. 8 opener against Miami as well as a road test against Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore the following week.