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News from Yahoo.com and ClevelandBrowns.com
NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, a former current NFL player and a prominent fashion designer are among the investors in a group that wants to legalize marijuana use in Ohio, organizers of the campaign announced. The group called ResponsibleOhio on Friday released a list of 11 backers who include Ohio business people and philanthropists. Responsible Ohio hopes to put its ballot measure before voters this fall.
Browns receiver Josh Gordon said on Thursday that his latest trouble with the NFL results from having a few drinks with teammates. Gordon said in an open letter on Medium (http://bit.ly/1tzbTik ) that he accepts responsibility for a failed alcohol test that could bring another suspension from the league. The 23-year-old receiver said he had two beers and two other drinks with teammates on a flight to Las Vegas on Jan. 2, after Cleveland's season ended. The receiver said he thought the requirement no longer applied when the season ended, but he was mistaken.
In an open letter to his most vocal doubters, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon addressed his alleged sixth violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy , which could cost him the entire 2015 season. Responding on Medium.com to, among others, ESPN personalities Stephen A. Smith and Cris Carter as well as NBA on TNT's Charles Barkley — who respectively said, " I harbor no sympathy for him whatsoever," " my concern is his well being ," and " Gordon is going to die if he keeps going on this road" — the 2013 All-Pro dismissed those who cast aspersions, if only because they do not know him. I failed myself when [I] started using marijuana regularly as a young teenager. I failed myself when I ruined a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be Robert Griffin III’s running mate during his Heisman Trophy-winning season at Baylor. I failed myself when I didn’t check with the league office to ensure that my doctor-prescribed, codeine-based medicine was allowed under NFL guidelines. I failed myself when I was arrested for driving a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit. I failed myself when I missed a team walkthrough late in the season and was suspended for the final game of the year. But you know what, Charles, Stephen A., Cris and everyone else? I also have succeeded. I succeeded by escaping a youth riddled with poverty, gang violence and very little in the way of guidance or support. I succeeded by narrowly avoiding a life of crime that managed to sink its clutches into almost all of my childhood friends. I succeeded by working tremendously hard on my craft and my body to even have a chance to play professional football for a living. And, contrary to popular belief, I succeeded by overcoming my longstanding relationship with weed — because I knew I was risking my future over it. While questioning the motives of media members whose words are sometimes louder than their actions, Gordon details his experience growing up with two brothers in a single-parent home in a poor Houston neighborhood where drugs, alcohol and guns were prevalent — a childhood to which both Barkley and Carter can relate all too well . He also claims to have not smoked marijuana since before the Browns selected him in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft despite an alleged positive test . The letter juxtaposes Gordon's acceptance of his own faults and the excuses he offers for them. He says a blood-alcohol content only .01 above the legal limit led to his DUI charge, second-hand weed smoke caused his positive drug test and a few drinks on a flight to Las Vegas five days after Cleveland's final game unknowingly violated his agreement to abstain from alcohol for the rest of this NFL season. Even taking Gordon at his word, he's still violated the league's substance abuse policy multiple times. If you're the type of person who wonders how anyone with Gordon's talent could risk a lucrative career for such seemingly minor infractions, you still cannot put yourself in his shoes, and he does a nice job of explaining why that's the case. By the end, though, you just feel bad for a 23-year-old kid who hasn't quite figured it all out yet, and that's OK. It all seems to be part of his process, whatever that may be. What I do know is the following: I am not a drug addict; I am not an alcoholic; I am not someone who deserves to be dissected and analyzed like some tragic example of everything that can possibly go wrong for a professional athlete. And … I am not going to die on account of the troubled state you wrongly believe my life to be in. I am a human being, with feelings and emotions and scars and flaws, just like anyone else. I make mistakes — I have made a lot of mistakes — but I am a good person, and I will persevere. In the court of public opinion, only Gordon's ability to avoid further off-field incidents will sway the jury in his favor, but here's hoping he's telling nothing but the truth, so help him God. [ Watch Super Bowl XLIX live here and on NBC Sports - Sunday at 6 p.m. ET ] - - - - - - - Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach
Quarterback EJ Manuel is getting a clean slate under Bills new offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Manuel, practice squad member Jeff Tuel and however many quarterbacks the team adds this offseason will still have to prove themselves on the field, Roman said during his introductory news conference Tuesday. The Bills have a new coaching staff under Rex Ryan, who took over after Doug Marrone stepped down abruptly on Dec. 31 following a 9-7 season.
It's tough being a New England Patriots fan. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown and all that. Sure, (arguably) the greatest coach in NFL history sports a Patriots logo on his sleeveless sweatshirt, and (arguably) the best quarterback of all-time dons a Flying Elvis on his helmet, but every other God-fearing football fan across this great nation has yet to bow at the altar of Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Discussions about football would be a whole lot simpler if everyone could get it through their thick skulls that the game we all knew in a bygone era has since been reinvented by that holy trinity. Instead, you can't log onto Facebook or travel south of Hartford every February without somebody pointing out the Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl since the Spygate scandal revealed them to be cheaters. Never mind the 16-0 regular season that ensued once they stopped videotaping sideline signals. The Patriots couldn't beat Eli Manning of all QBs without having studied film of the backside of a laminated white sheet of paper covering his offensive coordinator's mouth. Heck, even God himself got involved by gluing a football to David Tyree's helmet just to spite them for their sins, proving once and for all Brady — despite his three championship rings and supermodel wife — is in fact not the second coming. Now, deflate-gate has only reinforced the rest of the country's resolve to hate the Patriots. Sure, a New Englander can explain away deflated footballs and videotaped signals — as Belichick did — with science and the idea that cameras only caught on film what 80,000 people could see in plain sight, but all every other un-Patriotic football fan hears is Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" drowning out your excuses. So, if you're from the Northeast corner like I am, know that the best way to crawl under every other football fan's skin is to offer up the only excuse that should be universally accepted in NFL circles by now: Everybody cheats. As famed 21st-century philosopher Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. has hypothesized, the best defense is a good offense, so here's the New Englander's guide to labeling every other NFL team a cheat. Even if it's baseless. Because if we've learned anything in the past 10 days, you're guilty before proven innocent. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS : They had two Pro Bowl defenders — LaRon Landry and Robert Mathis — suspended for PED use and still couldn't stop Jonas Gray or LeGarrette Blount. Not to mention they allegedly pumped crowd noise into the RCA Dome to beat the Pats in the 2006 AFC Championship. BALTIMORE RAVENS : Ah, the easiest fans of all to take up residence within their bird brains. Three simple words: Deer-antler spray . And if those don't work, remember five-time All-Pro defensive lineman Haloti Ngata got busted for performance-enhancing drugs just last month. Or mention that — while the Ravens rightfully cut Ray Rice — somehow their other All-Pro defensive stud, Terrell Suggs, remains on the roster despite a pair of equally disturbing domestic violence allegations against him. See, you don't even need to bring up the double-murder indictment of Ray Lewis to incite a Baltimore riot. Oh, wait. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS : The Seahawks lead the league in performance-enhancing drug use since Pete Carroll's arrival in 2010, and that doesn't even include the overturning of Richard Sherman's positive test before the first of three straight playoff appearances. Talk about deflated balls in the Super Bowl. NEW YORK GIANTS : Former coach Jim Fassel may have explained away radio signal stealing allegations in 2001 by feigning ignorance, calling such high-tech cheating "impossible to even try," but the Giants already admitted to intercepting radio waves — in 1956 . It's not like technology has progressed in the past half-century or anything. No wonder they beat the Pats in 2007 and 2011. ATLANTA FALCONS : Speaking of listening in on conversations, assistant general manager Scott Pioli is a notorious offender, having allegedly bugged former Chiefs coach Todd Haley's phones during his GM tenure in Kansas City. (Please pay no attention Pioli's presence in New England during Spygate.) NEW YORK JETS : The only reason New York ratted on the Patriots for videotaping signals in 2007 is because New England threw a Jets employee out of Gillette Stadium for doing the same a year earlier. Of course, then-Jets coach Eric Mangini dubbed their misdeeds as "standard operating procedure." Not to be outdone, former New York strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi resorted to tripping a dude . PITTSBURGH STEELERS : Current coach Mike Tomlin warranted a $100,000 fine when he interfered with a Jacoby Jones kickoff return in 2013, but it's best to hit Pittsburgh where it hurts most — puncturing a hole through the heart of the Steel Curtain. In making his own steroid admission as a player, former Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett called all four of their Super Bowls in the 1970s into question . MIAMI DOLPHINS : A pair of Fins got caught violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, but that perfect 1972 season is the only thing the Miami faithful can hold over New Englanders' heads (well, that and the fact Floridians aren't covered in two feet of snow right now), so let's point out the Dolphins committed three counts of tampering in order to hire Don Shula as their coach. BUFFALO BILLS : The Bills have been all about those banned substances for the past five decades, beginning with Haslett's admission to steroid use during his Buffalo career from 1979-85. When the NFL cracked down on steroids in the late 1980s, the Bills had more players suspended than any other team. Soon afterwards, Don Smith allegedly tested positive for steroid use before Super Bowl XXV, and then proceeded to score a touchdown in the first of four straight title losses. Before making a Pro Bowl, running back Travis Henry violated the league's substance policy, citing ephedra, as was the custom at the time. And more recently tight end Shawn Nelson earned his own four-game suspension. Whatever's in the sauce on those wings up there in Buffalo, maybe the Bills should be using more of it, because they haven't made the playoffs since New Englanders threw them a bone with Doug Flutie in 1999. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS : Bountygate . DETROIT LIONS : Center Dominic Raiola and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh have both been fined multiple times for attempting to intentionally injure their opponents after the whistle, which is kinda like Bountygate, only without the monetary incentive — which kinda makes it even worse. DALLAS COWBOYS : Take your pick between the Cowboys' salary cap violations , Orlando Scandrick's PED suspension or Jerry Jones partying with NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino and a bunch of coeds in a bus outside Bootsy Bellows nightclub in Los Angeles. The third option seems the most fun. WASHINGTON REDSKINS : Likewise, it's a toss-up between salary cap violations , widespread PED use , signing Andre' Woodson off the scrap heap to recreate the Giants' playbook and illegally calling out the Cowboys' snap count . It's really not that hard to rile up a fan base whose team's owner sued season-ticket holders during a recession and vehemently defends the use of a racially insensitive nickname. CHICAGO BEARS : Forget former linebacker Brian Urlacher's concession that the Bears assigned " a designated dive guy " to fake injuries when opposing offenses got hot, current wideout Brandon Marshall suggested players use Viagra to gain an edge, which creates all sorts of problems in those pig piles. CLEVELAND BROWNS : The Browns are currently being investigated for texting during games — a violation of NFL policy — suggesting these weren't just messages from Johnny Football's ladyfriends. DENVER BRONCOS : Where do we begin? ESPN's Mark Schlereth and a couple Bronco buddies got popped for oiling themselves up in Vaseline before a playoff game, which seems minor in comparison to the team's pair of violations of the league's salary cap restrictions , including $29 million in deferred payments to John Elway and Terrell Davis — the two cogs in Denver's Super Bowl victories. (It's probably best not to mention Josh McDaniels earned a $50,000 fine for videotaping a 49ers practice.) HOUSTON TEXANS : Three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Duane Brown got busted for PEDs before this season, but teammate Brian Cushing takes the cake. Following a season in which he won Defensive Rookie of the Year from the Associated Press in 2010, Cushing tested positive for a fertility drug (perhaps to counteract his opponents' Viagra consumption?). So, the AP took a revote, and he still won the award. It's always nice to see the media taking the moral high ground when it comes to football scandals. TENNESSEE TITANS : The last time the Titans were any good, they had fullback Ahmard Hall paving the way for 1,000-yard rushers Travis Henry (yes, that Travis Henry), LenDale White and Chris Johnson from 2006-11. And Hall earned a performance-enhancing drug suspension at the end of that run. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS : Linebacker LaRoy Reynolds sat out four games for a PED suspension in 2013, but there's no use trying to incite a fan base that requires swimming pools, go-go dancers and two-for-one drink specials just to get enough fans in the front door to avoid television blackouts. ARIZONA CARDINALS : GM Steve Keim can call Daryl Washington's indiscretions "unacceptable" all he wants, but when a team continues to employ an admitted domestic abuser and two-time violator of the league's substance abuse policy — including one positive PED test — simply because he has an All-Pro bid on his resume, it kind of gives off the impression that those actions are in fact acceptable. CINCINNATI BENGALS : It's kind of boring when all the Bengals have done to cheat is use a few performance-enhancing drugs, as cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris was busted for earlier this season. Apparently, they prefer to do their misdeeds off the field, leading the league in legal battles last decade. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS : Ho hum. Just a run-of-the-mill PED ban for offensive tackle Donald Stephenson. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES : Two more PED suspensions this season . Boring. OAKLAND RAIDERS : After Al Davis spent years suggesting Mike Shanahan's Broncos should have an asterisk next to their Super Bowl victories for violating the salary cap, his own organization was among four teams punished by the league for similar infractions a few years ago. Also, they're the Raiders. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS : The Bucs aren't opposed to PED use, either, having received a pair of suspensions this past season, but don't forget Brad Johnson paid an NFL representative $75,000 to rub down his footballs prior to their Super Bowl XXXVII victory — the lone title in the team's 40-year existence. GREEN BAY PACKERS : The Packers cheated so bad they had to buy their way back into the league, per Albert J. Figone's 2012 book, " Cheating the Spread ": "The American Professional Football Association, organized in 1919, soon became embroiled in recruiting collegiate players. The Green Bay Packers had their franchise revoked in 1921 because they recruited three Notre Dame Players — Hunk Anderson, Ojay Larson, and Hee Garvey — for their final game of the season at Milwaukee. The story was broken by the Chicago Tribune, home of the Packers' archrival Staleys (later the Bears), coached by George Halas. The Green Bay franchise was reinstated in 1922 after Curly Lambeau paid a fee." Nowadays, Aaron Rodgers' over-inflation of balls keeps the proud cheating tradition established by Hunk, Ojay and Hee alive. MINNESOTA VIKINGS : As long as we're still on the subject of footballs, the Vikings like theirs warm , which also violates league policy. Oh, and Hall of Famer Cris Carter spearheaded his own Bountygate scandal . CAROLINA PANTHERS : They heated their balls on the sidelines, too, but that's not quite as egregious as a trio of Carolina players filling prescriptions for steroids shortly before losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII — making former Panthers GM Marty Hurney's recent sour grapes all the more hilarious. ST. LOUIS RAMS : Former running back turned NFL Network pundit Marshall Faulk can cry foul about the Patriots cheating him out of a second Super Bowl ring all he wants. He probably just accused New England of cheating again in the time I wrote that last sentence. But the Rams aren't innocent, either, fielding performance - enhancing drug abusers every season since the NFL ramped up its testing policy in 2011. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS : LaDainian Tomlinson once said, "I think the Patriots actually live by the saying 'If you're not cheating, you're not trying,'" so it stands to reason his team didn't trying until he retired in 2012, since that's when the Chargers received a $20,000 fine for using a "Stickum"-like substance . SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS : In the late 1990s, the Niners were finally busted for a practice they had been accused of and denied during their dynastic run from 1981-94 — skirting the salary cap, including a violation involving Super Bowl XXIX MVP Steve Young. If that doesn't get a San Fran fan going, just let Bill Parcells do the finger-pointing for you, since he claims the 49ers twice disabled the Giants' phone communications in the mid-'80s. And Bill Belichick's defense still managed to win both games. Now, cue all the angry emails from non-Patriots fans, who might finally understand how it feels to root for New England — only without all the Super Bowl appearances to make the cheating rumors worthwhile. - - - - - - - Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach
News broke over the weekend that Josh Gordon violated the NFL's substance abuse policy and is now at risk of a one-year suspension. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio addresses the potential confusion that might have led to the Browns wide receiver's impending punishment, and he adds that the punishment might be the beginning of the end for Gordon in Cleveland. Watch the Super Bowl live on NBC Sports and Yahoo - Sunday, Feb. 1 at 6:30 pm ET
Josh Gordon's troubles have deepened. The wide receiver for the Browns has failed yet another drug test, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Sunday. Gordon, who has twice been suspended by the NFL for drug violations, could be banned for one year, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the testing. ''Clearly we are very disappointed to hear the latest report regarding Josh,'' a Browns spokesman said Sunday in a release.
It'll be a lot harder for Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon and his representatives to come up with excuses for yet another failed test for the league's substances of abuse. Gordon, the wildly talented 2013 All-Pro receiver, failed another test and faces banishment for the 2015 season, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported . Pro Football Talk said Gordon tested positive for alcohol, which the league can test him for as a result of his DWI arrest last July. It's almost inconceivable that Gordon would put himself in this position, after having a season-long suspension for a drug test lessened to 10 games last season. After Gordon came back, he was suspended for the season finale for skipping a walk-through practice. That 10-game suspension last year was the result of Gordon's fourth violation of the league's drug policy, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported at the time. And yet he failed another test. Last time around Gordon claimed that he barely crossed the threshold for a positive test for marijuana, and the NFL's threshold was changed after his test. Any excuses this time probably won't be taken too seriously. He said his positive test last year was the result of second-hand smoke. He went to a rehab facility in California. He said he didn't have a drug problem and wanted to make things right with the Browns and the Cleveland fans. "I see myself in a Cleveland Browns uniform, and a return for Josh Gordon," he told OnDeckEr.com last September . "Hopefully this time, the biggest and the best I’ve ever been. Really looking forward to giving the people what they deserve, not letting anyone down, myself included. And exceeding their expectations." That seems very hollow now. Obviously Gordon can't stay out of trouble, a problem he has had since a rocky college career. He'll have plenty of time now to sort through his issues now. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
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