CLEVELAND — Oh, Canada. Josh Gordon hardly knew ye.
Gordon, Cleveland’s All-Pro receiver, was weighing his options Thursday, a day after the NFL upheld the indefinite suspension that will sideline him for the 2014 season. He considered playing in the Canadian Football League, according to a league source, but quickly found out that wasn’t possible.
Not only is he under contract with the Browns and would’ve needed their permission, the CFL changed its rules to forbid players under contract and serving suspensions in other leagues from crossing the border. The loophole was closed after running back Ricky Williams played for the Toronto Argonauts in 2006.
Gordon didn’t play Saturday in the third preseason game but was in uniform and available. So Thursday night was the first time he was no longer a part of the Browns — the suspension bans him from being around the organization — and the conversation around town continued to focus on his absence.
Gordon led the league with 1,646 receiving yards last year, despite missing the first two games while suspended for failing a drug test. That advanced him to Stage 3 of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, which meant another failed test would equal an indefinite suspension. The league will determine Gordon’s eligibility for reinstatement following the season.
The most optimistic of Browns fans may still have a glimmer of hope. Gordon’s representatives are reportedly considering legal action against the NFL.
In that scenario, they could seek an injunction in Ohio court to stop the suspension and allow Gordon to rejoin the Browns. The argument would be that the NFL’s policy violates Ohio law.
Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann wrote a story detailing Gordon’s options, but didn’t sound optimistic he’d be successful.
Rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel continues to make commercials, and his latest might be the funniest.
A Snickers commercial debuted Thursday featuring Manziel as a Richard Simmons-like exercise instructor. The women in the class call him “Johnny JamBoogie.”
Finally, a guy in a Browns jersey comes in the room, hands him a Snickers and reminds him he’s Johnny Football.
The tagline: You’re not you when you’re hungry.
The contract with Mars Chocolate was the fourth major endorsement deal for Manziel, the No. 22 pick in the draft. He’s also with McDonald’s, Nike and Nissan.
Veteran receiver Nate Burleson (hamstring) made his Browns preseason debut after missing the first three games. He was injured at practice Aug. 6, returned to individual drills Monday and took some team reps Tuesday.
He entered on the second series and finished the first half with one catch, a 27-yarder from Manziel.
He was signed to a one-year contract in April but may not be guaranteed a roster spot. The cut from 75 to 53 is Saturday afternoon.
The Browns were again short-handed at cornerback. Joe Haden (foot), Buster Skrine (thumb), Isaiah Trufant (knee) and rookie Pierre Desir (knee) were inactive.
Outside linebacker Eric Martin (concussion) and defensive end Desmond Bryant (wrist) also didn’t dress.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can’t let go. Despite passing on Manziel in the draft, Jones continues to tell people how much he wanted him.
“If we had picked Manziel, he’d guarantee our relevance for 10 years,” Jones said in a profile in ESPN The Magazine.
He’s been talking about Manziel for months.
“When we were on the clock, I said, if we pick the other guy — any other guy — it would be a ticket to parity, more 8-8 seasons,” Jones said. “The only way to break out is to gamble — take a chance with that first pick, if you wanna dramatically improve your team. That’s why I wanted Manziel, but I was the only guy who wanted him (in the organization). I listened to everybody … and I’m … not … happy …”
- Halftime wiener dog races are back for their second season at FirstEnergy Stadium. Fox Sports Ohio’s Sara Carnes provided the play-by-play.
- Ticket reseller StubHub says interest in Browns regular-season games ranks 28th in the NFL, ahead of Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Cincinnati.
- Cleveland tickets resold at the third-lowest average price in the league in 2013, ahead of Tennessee and last-place Jacksonville.