Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon had his appeal with the NFL Friday regarding a reported failed drug test.


BEREA, Ohio -- On Friday, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon had his much anticipated hearing to appeal an indefinite suspension for what was reported to be a failed drug test in the offseason.

Although no decision on Gordon's future has been announced yet, his teammates are hoping for the best.

"I'm an optimistic guy," veteran wide receiver Nate Burleson said. "I'm a glass-half-full guy, so I'm always hoping and expecting the best case scenario. I've only known him a little bit, but he's a good young man. People call him a kid, but he's a good young man.

"He has a ton of talent. He's a funny dude. Guys like that, you want to see good things happen to. The way I look at it, in an analogy of football, sometimes, you've got to fumble in order to learn ball security. I'm pretty sure he'll hold onto the rock of life a little tighter after this situation plays out."

Despite the looming threat of an indefinite suspension, which comes with a ban of at least 12 months because of Gordon's history of failed tests in the NFL, Burleson saw a hard-working player anxious to build on his Pro Bowl season of 2013, when he led the league with 1,646 receiving yards, 117.6 yards per game, the longest touchdown and longest reception.

Gordon did all of that in only 14 games, as he missed the first two of the season because of a suspension for a failed drug test.

"He's been keeping a good head," Burleson said. "He understands that, from where he is now, there are some things that he can't control. Decisions are going to be made that are out of his hands. He's just showed up for work.

"He's a professional, and you've got to appreciate a guy like that, showing up every day, still coming in and playing like the No. 1 receiver that he is, and knowing that he's going to have a decision made in a few days. He was doing what he needed to do."

Should a suspension be levied against Gordon, "what he needs to do" will be pass up to 10 random drug tests per month for the next 12 months, and for the rest of his career. Only after three years from his reinstatement would Gordon be able to apply to have the number of tests reduced.

"I haven't had any close friends that have been through that situation, so I don't know firsthand how that affects an individual," Burleson said. "At the end of the day, it's up to the NFL to make that decision if they want to change that a little bit, and it's up to the individual who goes through that.

"He's going to have to really lock down and focus because if you're not around the team, you've got to be able to simulate that for a whole calendar year."

Whether or not Gordon is on the field for any of the 2014 season, the other receivers in the locker room are concerned about learning the playbook.

"We have a bunch of hard-working guys with chips on their shoulders who come out here and bust their butts every day," Andrew Hawkins said. "I'll take that 10 times out of 10.

"We're trying to learn the offense. We have enough going on day-to-day to try to figure out the new plays we're putting in every day. This is a very detailed offense, so I'm being 100 percent honest when I say that the receivers, we haven't even literally discussed it. That's how far in the back of our mind it is."

Anthony Armstrong added, "Everybody's got their nose down. They're grinding. They're in their playbooks. They're just trying to make plays every single day because Josh is an extremely talented receiver and it's going to be very difficult to replace 1,600 yards and the Pro Bowl season he put together, but we all know even if Josh is activated, we're still one slip away from being in the game. If he's here or not, we're still going to have to step up and make plays."

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