Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon pleaded guilty on Tuesday to driving while impaired. By pleading guilty before the NFL’s revised drug policy goes into effect, Gordon will reportedly be able to avoid an additional two-game suspension.
Under the league’s new drug policy, a first DWI offense triggers an automatic two-game suspension. A first offense under the old policy resulted in just a maximum fine of $50,000 and no suspension. According to Pro Football Talk, Gordon pleading guilty on Tuesday ensures that he will be subject to the guidelines of the old policy and will not receive an automatic suspension.
However, PFT also noted that Gordon’s guilty plea does not necessarily mean he is out of the woods. While the NFL can’t suspend him automatically under the old drug policy, there are exceptions where a player who has had other substance abuse issues can be suspended for a first-offense DUI.
When the NFL and the NFL Players Association officially pass the new drug policy, Gordon’s season-long suspension is expected to be reduced to 10 games. If his plan works and the guilty plea allows him to avoid an additional suspension for the DWI, Gordon would have a shot at playing six games this season. As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe pointed out, that would be enough games to accrue a full season.
Simply put, Gordon is trying to play the new and old drug policies to make the most of his situation.