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Josh Gordon: Codeine in strep throat medicine caused suspension

6/8/2013 11:03:20 AM
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The NFL announced that Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon had been suspended for the first two games of the regular season and fined two additional game checks for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Gordon, who failed three marijuana tests in college, apparently didn't test positive for marijuana. In a statement released by the Browns, he said he unknowingly ingested codeine that was in cough medicine prescribed for strep throat in February, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. 

"In February, I was diagnosed with strep throat for which a doctor prescribed antibiotics and cough medicine," he said in the statement. "Apparently, the medicine I took contained codeine, which is prohibited by the NFL policy. The policy terms are strict about unintentional ingestion, but the NFL has not imposed the maximum punishment in light of the facts of my case. Therefore, I have chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation. I sincerely apologize for the impact on my team, coaches, and Browns fans. I look forward to working hard in training camp and pre-season, and contributing immediately when I return in week three." 

The NFL is prohibited by the collective bargaining agreement from revealing what players test positive for. Players can pin it on whatever they choose. One trend occurring in the NFL, according to sources, is for players to blame a positive steroid test on Adderall, which has a less negative connotation.

Another source said some NFL players have been testing positive for codeine lately because of the Purple Drank craze, in which prescription-strength cough syrup is mixed with soda and hard candy.

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