CLEVELAND — Browns receiver Josh Gordon said on Thursday that his latest trouble with the NFL results from having a few drinks with teammates.
Gordon said in an open letter on Medium (http://bit.ly/1tzbTik ) that he accepts responsibility for a failed alcohol test that could bring another suspension from the league. The 23-year-old receiver said he had two beers and two other drinks with teammates on a flight to Las Vegas on Jan. 2, after Cleveland's season ended.
The former Pro Bowler was suspended for last season after testing positive for marijuana, but the penalty was reduced to 10 games. Gordon said that as part of the reduction, he agreed not to drink alcohol. He said he was tested for it when he got off the plane in Las Vegas.
"As a strict condition to my reinstatement in Week 12, I had to agree not only to abstain from drinking for the rest of the season, but also to submit to an alcohol screen as part of my in-season drug testing under the league's substance-abuse protocol," Gordon said.
The receiver said he thought the requirement no longer applied when the season ended, but he was mistaken. The Browns missed the playoffs with a 7-9 record, finishing last in the AFC North.
"It doesn't matter if I thought that the league-imposed restriction on drinking had expired at the end of the regular season; what matters is that I didn't confirm whether or not that was the case," Gordon said. "Now, that oversight has further jeopardized my relationship with my team and our fans, my reputation, and maybe even my career."
Gordon rejected criticism from media commentators, saying they don't know him well enough to form opinions about him.
Gordon's absence was noticeable on a team that struggled on offense last year. Cleveland hired Joker Phillips as wide receivers coach on Thursday, Phillips' first full-time NFL coaching job. Phillips was most recently in college football as a wide receivers coach for Florida in 2012-2013.
Gordon led the league with 1,646 yards receiving in 2013. The following May, it was revealed that he failed another test for marijuana. His representatives unsuccessfully argued to an arbitrator that his failed drug test was the result of second-hand marijuana smoke.
The one-year suspension was shortened as part of the NFL's overhaul of its disciplinary system. The NFL has not yet announced punishment for the failed alcohol test.
Gordon also was arrested for drunken driving in North Carolina last July.
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