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Josh Gordon Appeal Hearing Set; Reduced Suspension Possible

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Matt Sullivan

As the Cleveland Browns continue their offseason , they're anxiously awaiting the final word on All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon. Their success or failure in the upcoming NFL season is riding on the alleged failed drug test that could cost Gordon all of 2014.

With him, this could be a darkhorse playoff team.

Without him however, it will be too much for this offseaon to overcome. Gordon led the Browns with 87 receptions and had nine touchdowns last season. He led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards and became the first player in NFL history with consecutive 200-yard receiving games.

According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, the NFL could decide Gordon's fate soon, once they hear his appeal later this month.

Per a league source, nothing will be happening today.

But it will be happening sooner rather than later.  Gordon’s hearing, we’re told, has been scheduled for late July.

It’s still possible that a hearing won’t be needed, if the NFL and the NFLPA work out a reduced suspension.  Gordon reportedly faces a minimum banishment of one year for his latest violation of the substance-abuse policy.

If Gordon doesn't play this year, the Browns' top wideouts will be Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin and Travis Benjamin.

It's hard to see that group, combined with either a rookie QB (Johnny Manziel) or one coming off a torn ACL (Brian Hoyer) getting this team to more than seven wins.

For the Cincinnati Bengals, it's highly unlikely they'll see Gordon in Week when they host the Browns on Thursday Night Football. It's starting to look like there's a remote chance they'll have to face him in Week 15 at Cleveland. That would mean his suspension was reduced to fewer than 14 games.

The odds are against Gordon playing at all this year though.