According to Florio, in the event that one side is unwilling to negotiate, there is a chance that the hearing officer in this case could “send signals” to the two parties that doing so would be in their interest.
Earlier in the day, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT that this case will be an all or nothing situation, as an NFL player in Stage III of the league’s substance-abuse program would either receive a full-year suspension or no suspension at all.
“The disciplinary penalties were negotiated by the NFLPA and NFL more than 20 years ago and there has never been a proposal to change them,” McCarthy said in an email to PFT. “When they were first established, the union expressed the strong view that they needed to be stated and mandatory to ensure that all players be treated the same regardless of position, experience, level of ability, or competitive considerations. On appeal, the hearing officer’s responsibility is to determine whether the violation was established and, if so, he is bound by the agreed-upon sanctions.”
A ruling is expected to come at some point in the near future.
Maurice Suh, the attorney known for helping helping Seahawks CB Richard Sherman win his suspension appeal in December of 2012, has been hired to oversee Gordon’s case.
The Browns have maintained that they have no intention of releasing Gordon and are committed to helping him get the help he needs to turn things around.
Gordon is still only 23 years old, and incredibly talented. Even if he were to receive a full year suspension, he would return to the league as a 24-year old, presumably with one less year of wear and tear.
Last year, Gordon caught 87 receptions for 1,646 yards receiving and and nine touchdowns over the course of 14 games.