5:53pm: According to ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link), Browns coaches didn’t know about Gordon’s looming suspension until earlier tonight. Mortensen adds (via Twitter) that the club’s front office made its first-round decisions with knowledge of Gordon’s status, which is under appeal. Meanwhile, Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (Twitter links) suggests that the Browns knew about Gordon’s failed test, but didn’t know he could be facing a season-long ban.
5:41pm: Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com adds (via Twitter) that the Browns have known about Gordon’s positive test for two weeks, so the club made all of its draft preparations with that knowledge.
5:31pm: According to multiple reports, including Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link), the Browns knew before passing on Watkins in last night’s first round that Gordon could be facing a ban.
5:14pm: After an exciting first-round draft night that saw the Browns pick up an extra 2015 first-rounder and trade up for quarterback Johnny Manziel, the team is facing some potentially devastating news before the draft’s second day gets underway. According to T.J. Quinn and Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN.com, wide receiver Josh Gordon could be facing a season-long ban for repeated violations of the league’s drug policy.
Quinn and Van Natta hear from multiple sources that Gordon, who was suspended last season without pay for two games and two additional game checks for violating the league’s policy, failed his latest drug test as a result of marijuana being found. A source tells ESPN’s Outside the Lines that Gordon received a letter informing him that he faces a potential 16-game suspension, but would have the right to appeal the ruling.
Asked about a potential suspension, Gordon deferred to agent Drew Rosenhaus, telling Outside the Lines, “I really don’t know anything about it.” Rosenhaus declined to comment, but suggested the information is “not true.”
A lengthy suspension for Gordon would be a significant blow for a Browns offense that passed on Sammy Watkins last night, trading the fourth overall pick that was used on Watkins to the Bills. Cleveland has several more picks on the way in the draft, including one early in the second round tonight, so wide receiver will likely become a more pressing priority if the team is concerned about Gordon missing some or all of the 2014 season.