Questions loom for Browns' receivers

BEREA, Ohio -- In a span of about two hours before the start of the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, news broke that the Cleveland Browns could be without two wide receivers for an extended period of time.

Third-year wide receiver Josh Gordon, who led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards last season, is facing a year-long suspension from the NFL for a failed drug test, as reported by ESPN's "Outside the Lines." It would be his second drug suspension in the NFL in the past two years if the reports are true and his appeal is unsuccessful.

Then, a separate report was confirmed that veteran Nate Burleson broke his arm in a voluntary mini-camp practice, which is why he missed the final day of the three-day session.

"I know there's been a lot of shocking, supposedly, news that we're not going to comment on with regards to Josh Gordon," general manager Ray Farmer said after the third round. "We're not going to comment on our players' health status and anyone that's on this roster.

"The status of any players with regard to their contracts or health is a private manner. To that end, I would say that it doesn't behoove anyone if the player's not going to miss any time from any games that are going to be played."

Coach Mike Pettine added, "The league doesn't require us to discuss injuries at this point. When the league requires us to speak about injuries, we'll speak about injuries."

Gordon was suspended for the first two games of the 2013 regular season because codeine was discovered in his drug test sample. The latest reported test came up positive for marijuana.

"Whenever we do have clarity, we'll express our sentiments then," Farmer said. "Until I really have something to tell them, there's really nothing I can say.

"To the end that the league has really stated what we can say and what we cannot say, until we have definitive clarity on what those things are, we're going to remain silent."

With regard to Burleson, Farmer said the fractured arm, which is the same one he broke in a car accident last season, will not keep him out of the lineup.

"Nate Burleson is not going to miss any games for our football team," Farmer said. "Does it really matter if he was here, if he was missing or if he decided not to come to the offseason program at all? The two are somewhat, in my mind, really not that big of a deal of where the guy's going to be in training camp. Is he going to play and practice? If those things are legitimate, then, I don't know if they really matter for us to go into depth about what the details are.

"If it's about injuries, we really don't want to discuss injuries with any player. We don't want to discuss a player's health through the media. It's a critical component not to discuss a player's health."

Despite the potential to be without Gordon for 365 days and with Burleson reported to be on the shelf for the remainder of the offseason, Farmer is still confident in the wide receivers currently on the Browns' roster.

"I'm not concerned with my depth at wide receiver," Farmer said. "I'm not concerned with the depth at wide receiver because we play games in September, and right now, there's still plenty of opportunity for us to acquire players and to make things happen.

"Whether it's trades, whether it's drafting someone the next day, whether it's players that get cut and we acquire somebody from the street, there's always an opportunity to acquire players. From our perspective, that's really what we focus on, using every opportunity to acquire players that come available."


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