Browns' Gordon has suspension reduced to 10 games

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Browns' Gordon has suspension reduced to 10 games
IFLE - This is a June 3, 2014 file photo showing Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon walking off the field after organized team activities at the NFL football team's facility in Berea, Ohio. Gordon was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after speeding down a street in Raleigh on Saturday, July 4, 2014, bringing the troubled Pro Bowler's already cloudy future into more doubt. Gordon was taken into custody after being pulled over for going 50 mph in a 35 mph zone on U.S. 70 in northwest Raleigh around 3 a.m. Saturday, police spokesman Jim Sughrue said. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 23: Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns looks on during an NFL preseason game against the St. Louis Rams at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 23, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 9, 2014: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 (L) and wide receiver Josh Gordon #12 (R) of the Cleveland Browns stand for the national anthem prior to a preseason game against the Detroit Lions on August 9, 2014 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won 13-12. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 09: Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the start of the preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on August 9, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Browns 13-12 in a preseason game. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 09: Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the start of the preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on August 9, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Browns 13-12 in a preseason game. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
JULY 29, 2014 - BEREA, OH: Wide receiver Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns catches a pass prior to a training camp practice at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea, Ohio on July 29, 2014. (Photo by: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 01: Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon attends the 3rd Annual NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall on February 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Aug. 18, 2014, file photo, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) warms up before an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md. Gordon has been suspended by the NFL one year for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Gordon's suspension is effective immediately and he will miss the entire 2014 season. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
In this Oct. 27, 2013, photo, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) runs during an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo. Police say Gordon was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after speeding down a street in Raleigh, N.C. Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said Gordon was taken into custody after being pulled over for going 50 mph in a 35 mph zone on U.S. 70 in northwest Raleigh around 3 a.m. Saturday, July 5, 2014. Gordon was released on bail. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
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BY TOM WITHERS
AP SPORTS WRITER

BEREA, Ohio (AP) -- Josh Gordon has been cleared to run a route back to the Browns this season.

Cleveland's star wide receiver was reinstated into the NFL and had his one-year suspension reduced to 10 games after the league announced changes to its drug policy on Friday.

The league and Players' Association reached agreement on revisions to the substance-abuse program two days after announcing changes on performance-enhancing drugs.

Gordon, who has at least four known drug violations, has already served two games of the suspension. He will be eligible to play Nov. 23 when the Browns visit Atlanta and could be back for Cleveland's final six games.

Gordon's 10-game suspension will cost him more than $800,000. He'll be paid over $300,000 if he plays in those last six games.

Gordon's complicated saga has hung over the Browns for months, and there finally seems to be some closure.

Gordon had the appeal of a season-long ban for a failed marijuana test upheld on Aug. 22 by an arbitrator and it appeared he would not be able to play until 2015, and even that wasn't for certain.

The league had said his eligibility for reinstatement would be determined after the season.

But now Gordon is coming back, assuming of course he's able to stay clean during the suspension.

Under the new provisions, Gordon is expected to be allowed to work out and attend team meetings at the Browns' facility. Before the changes, Gordon was only permitted to meet with his clinician at the team's headquarters.

On Tuesday, Gordon pleaded guilty to a DWI charge in Raleigh, North Carolina, allowing him to avoid an additional two-game suspension under the new policies. He was scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 18, but his attorneys wanted the case resolved to get him back on the field more quickly.

The NFL's new policy on substance-abuse includes two additional disciplinary stages for marijuana positives. A first violation will result in referral to the substance abuse program, which has always been the case.

Subsequent violations will result in a two-game fine, a four-game fine, a four-game suspension, a 10-game suspension, and one-year banishment.

In addition, the threshold for a positive marijuana test will be raised from 15 nanograms to 35 nanograms, reflecting recent actions taken by other testing organizations.

During his suspension, Gordon has been working for a local car dealership.

Once Gordon returns, Browns coach Mike Pettine said he and general manager Ray Farmer plan to meet with the talented 23-year-old.

"I've already had some good sit-downs with Josh," Pettine said. "Ray and I both. When that occurs, we'll sit down with him and just kind of lay the plan out for him. We'd like to think that all of our players, we're on the same page with all of them as far as, `Here's what your role is. Here's what our expectations are.' I don't care if it's the 10th guy on the practice squad or if it's one of your better players, I just think that communication is important. Too many times you get caught making assumptions. It's just better to be out in the open."

Despite being suspended for two games - he blamed a prescription codeine cough syrup - last season , Gordon led the league with 1,646 yards receiving. He became the first player in league history to record consecutive 200-yard games.

While the Browns could have him back for the home stretch of the season, his teammates are more excited about having Gordon, the person, around.

"That's great for him," safety Donte Whitner said. "That's great for anybody that's suspended and can't be around their second family, and you can't go to your second home. Now, he'll be able to come here, be able to condition here. He'll be able to lift here. He'll be able to eat here.

"He'll be able to watch film, so that when he's ready to step back on the field, he doesn't miss a step."

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