By TOM WITHERS
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Browns star wide receiver Josh Gordon has been suspended the entire NFL season for another violation of the league's substance abuse policy.
The league announced Wednesday that arbitrator Harold Henderson upheld Gordon's suspension, which the Pro Bowler appealed. Gordon met with league officials in New York on Aug. 4 and he and the Browns had been patiently awaiting a resolution.
Gordon's suspension is effective immediately and he will have to apply for reinstatement following the season. Gordon is not allowed to practice with the team, attend meetings or other club functions.
Gordon served a two-game suspension for a drug violation.
"I'd like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans," Gordon said in a statement. "I am very disappointed that the NFL and its hearing office didn't exercise better discretion and judgment in my case. I would like to sincerely thank the people who have been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging time, including my family, my agent, my union, my legal team, and the Cleveland Browns staff."
The Browns have been waiting four months for a resolution to Gordon's case. The talented 23-year-old led the league with 1,646 yards receiving last season despite being banned for the first two games for a failed drug test. He became the first player in league history to record consecutive 200-yard games.
Gordon's loss is a crippling blow to Cleveland's offense, depriving the Browns of their best big-play threat. He averaged 18.9 yards per catch in 2013.
The Browns took a risk in selecting Gordon in the 2012 supplemental draft. He failed at least three drug tests in college for marijuana.