Gordon to meet with NFL

TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer Published:

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Browns may soon learn whether they'll have Josh Gordon this season.

The Pro Bowl wide receiver will have an appeal hearing with NFL officials in New York on Aug. 1, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.

The game-breaking playmaker is facing a possible one-year ban for violating the league's substance abuse policy for at least the third time. Gordon, who had a history of marijuana abuse in college, was suspended for the first two games last season. He still led the NFL with 1,646 yards receiving.

The 23-year-old player is expected to report to training camp today and he'll be on the field Saturday as the Browns have their first practice under new coach Mike Pettine.

According to reports, Gordon recently checked himself into rehab following an arrest in North Carolina. ESPN's Adam Shefter said Gordon spent two weeks at a facility in California.

The Browns have been patiently waiting for a resolution on Gordon's playing status, and his uncertain future has left a cloud over the team. The Browns first learned of a potential extended suspension on the second day of the NFL draft in May. The ESPN report doused the optimism created after the Browns, who have had only two winning seasons since 1999, drafted quarterback Johnny Manziel.

On Wednesday, Pettine told the AP he's not consumed with worry about whether he'll have Gordon.

"The frustration has really faded," Pettine said. "It's just something that's there. It's equivalent of having that file folder with all the answers in it and it's sitting there ready to go. It's just got a lot of dust. We're just waiting to hear from the league and we'll act accordingly."

If Gordon loses his appeal, he could be banned by Commissioner Roger Goodell for a minimum of one year. He would then have to apply for re-instatement.

Gordon has complicated his case with two recent legal infractions. He was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after speeding down a street in Raleigh, North Carolina, last month. In May, he was ticketed for speeding in Ohio, and a passenger in his car was cited for marijuana possession.

Pettine said the Browns have no plans to release Gordon. The team intends to support him and give him any help he may need.

"Josh is a Cleveland Brown and we want what's best for him and we want what's best for us," Pettine said. "He's smart. He's bright. He's creative. He's a guy that in a lot of ways that you root for."

RAVENS

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice received a two-game suspension from the NFL on Thursday following his offseason arrest for domestic violence.

Rice will miss the season opener against AFC North champion Cincinnati on Sept. 7 and the Sept. 11 game on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The running back was arrested following a Feb. 15 altercation in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in which he allegedly struck then-fiancee Janay Palmer. The 27-year-old Rice has been accepted into a diversion program, which upon completion could lead to the charges being expunged.

Rice met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last month after joining the diversion program. Goodell ultimately decided to suspend the running back for two games without pay and fine him an additional game check "for conduct detrimental to the NFL in violation of the league's Personal Conduct Policy."

In a letter to Rice, Goodell wrote, "Despite the court's decision not to impose criminal punishment, the Commissioner determined, as he advised Rice, that the conduct was incompatible with NFL policies and warranted disciplinary action.

COLTS

ANDERSON, Ind. -- Reggie Wayne is back to being his old self.

A little more than nine months after injuring his right knee, the perennial Pro Bowler was finally back on the practice field catching passes from quarterback Andrew Luck and working overtime receiving balls from the JUGS machine.

Yep, things are getting back to normal for the Colts.

"This is what I worked hard for. This is all the two- and three-a-days and rehabbing and stuff like that. This is what it's about," Wayne said after hauling in two balls Thursday. "Today felt pretty doggone good."

Wayne had been the model of consistency until tearing his ACL in the fourth quarter of a victory over Denver and former teammate Peyton Manning last October.

He enters this season with 1,006 receptions, 13,566 yards, and 80 TDs. But the injury ended streaks of catching at least 70 passes and accumulating at least 960 yards, something he did every year from 2004 through 2012, as well as his streak of 189 consecutive games played.

Instead, Wayne was forced into the role of coach and motivator as he and a large group of injured offensive starters worked their way back to health.

Running back Vick Ballard, like Wayne, tore an ACL early last season, running back Ahmad Bradshaw had season-ending neck surgery in October, starting guard Donald Thomas underwent surgery to repair a torn biceps and a torn quad, and tight end Dwayne Allen had season-ending hip surgery in September.

JETS

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Geno Smith is a changed quarterback.

Puzzled pauses in the New York Jets' huddle have been replaced by commanding playcalls. He's also barking out audibles at the line of scrimmage and reading defenses unlike he did at any point during his rookie season.

For a first training camp practice, Smith certainly performed Thursday like a guy intent on retaining his starting job.

"I think Geno looked better than I've ever seen him," wide receiver David Nelson raved.

With Michael Vick also in camp to push Smith and provide a veteran backup, Smith took the expected 75 percent of the snaps with the first-team offense, and was sharp while completing seven of 10 passes in 11-on-11 team drills.

"The game is slowing down a ton," Smith said.

BEARS

This time last year, Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman was still something of a curiosity.

He was a guy leading an NFL team for the first time as training camp started, plucked from Canada after spending several years out of the league.

The results were just about spectacular on offense. On defense, it was a different story. And the record was the definition of a mixed bag.

After going 8-8 and missing the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons, the Bears are looking for more.

They envision a defense that ranked among the league's worst making a big leap after a major overhaul that saw them land star defensive end Jared Allen, and they believe an offense that ranked among the league's best will come through again.

BILLS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A Buffalo Bills prospective ownership group that includes rocker Jon Bon Jovi has conducted a feasibility study into buying the NFL franchise and building a stadium in Toronto, a person close to the situation said.

The study identified at least three potential stadium sites, two in Toronto, including one on the waterfront, and another in the suburb of Mississauga, the person told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because Bon Jovi and his partners, Larry Tanenbaum and the Rogers family, have not publicly revealed details of their plans to purchase the team.

Andy Bergmann, responsible for overseeing the Bon Jovi group's stadium plans, confirmed Thursday in an email to the AP that his company has conducted stadium studies, "but nothing related to any specific site."

"We have undertaken engineering and design studies," wrote Bergmann, co-founder of Toronto-based Wessex Capital Partners, a growth equity investment firm that specializes in architecture, design and engineering services. "All of our work has been about a generic site and whether it was more rural or urban. We are aware of potential sites in the western NY and southern Ontario region, and are in fact meeting with two Buffalo area developers next week.

"No feasibility studies have been undertaken on any site to date."

BENGALS

Cornerback Leon Hall was cleared to join the Bengals' first practice of training camp on Thursday, an encouraging sign for one of the NFL's top defenses.

Hall tore his right Achilles tendon midway through last season, the second time he's sustained such an injury. He tore his left Achilles in 2011, but was back as the starter the following year.

The 29-year-old cornerback says he'll be rusty in pass coverage, so that's the main thing he's working on early in camp.

Defensive tackle Geno Atkins is coming back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and had hoped to participate in the first practice. Coach Marvin Lewis wants to give him a few days to ease in before he's cleared to fully practice.

SEAHAWKS

RENTON, Wash. -- Marshawn Lynch isn't expected to be present for the first day of the Seattle Seahawks' training camp, close friend and former teammate Michael Robinson said Thursday.

Appearing on NFL Network, Robinson said he spoke with Lynch and Seattle's star running back plans to hold out of the camp that begins Friday.

"I really think he just wants his position in the organization and how they view him, he just wants that recalibrated a little bit," Robinson said on NFL Network. "He's been the face of the franchise, he's been the face of the organization."

At dispute is Lynch's contract. Lynch can make up to $5.5 million this season in base pay and roster bonuses. It's the third year of a four-year contract Lynch signed with Seattle before the 2012 season.

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