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Josh Gordon could make 2014 NFL season debut vs Bengals

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Gordon met with NFL officials Aug. 1 in New York City to determine his fate in an appeals hearing.

Jason Miller

The Cleveland Browns are holding out hope that All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon will play this year. After failing another drug test, Gordon may avoid a season-long suspension if he's able to negotiate a deal with the NFL for a reduced suspension.

Gordon met with NFL officials Aug. 1 in New York City to determine his fate in an appeals hearing. He hired attorney Maurice Suh, who helped Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman win his appeal of a contested positive test in 2012. Gordon is hoping Suh can help him avoid a suspension in the same way Sherman avoided his for what was believed to be a failed test for Adderall use.

Now, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Browns expect to lose Gordon for at least eight games, as they hope Gordon can get his suspension reduced.

The two sides can also hammer out a settlement, and that's what the Browns are hoping for. Realistically, the best-case scenario would probably be about eight games, a source said.

In the event Gordon's ban is reduced to eight games, he'd be eligible to return Nov. 6 at Cincinnati, a Thursday night game on NFL Network. The final eight contests include three AFC North contests, two against the Bengals and one against the Ravens in the finale.

If eight becomes the number, it will mean that the NFL and NFLPA, representing Gordon, have worked out a settlement, and Gordon will make his 2014 debut in primetime vs the Bengals.

Gordon was suspended two games last season, and he still went on to lead the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards. If a deal is reached, it will likely mean the league also took into account his past transgressions, including a DWI arrest earlier this month, meaning he won;t face any additional punishment for it.