CLEVELAND — Josh Gordon's wait is over, and so is his 2014 season. Now the star receiver's career is in peril.
The Browns learned on Wednesday that Gordon's indefinite suspension by the league for marijuana use was upheld by arbitrator Harold Henderson and Gordon will miss at least 16 games for another violation of the league's substance abuse policy.
A repeat offender, Gordon, 23, had appealed the penalty.
The Pro Bowl player, who was subject to more frequent testing, will begin serving his suspension immediately, and the league said in its statement his "eligibility for reinstatement will be determined following the 2014 season."
Gordon is not allowed to practice with the team, attend meetings or other club functions and will lose his salary of $825,604.
"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."
Gordon, who led the league with 1,646 yards receiving last season despite being banned from the first two games for a failed drug test, will need to pass drug tests, comply with treatment and apply for reinstatement with commissioner Roger Goodell before he plays again.
Gordon could possibly return inside a year if he stays clean.
Gordon didn't help his cause with two legal issues as his case dragged on. He was charged with drunken driving after his arrest in Raleigh, N.C., on July 5. In May, he was stopped for speeding in Strongsville, Ohio, and one of the passengers in his car was cited for marijuana possession.
Bengals: Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict signed a three-year extension that runs through the 2017 season and will pay him a maximum of $20.05 million. Burfict is entering the final year on his original deal that will pay him a salary of $570,000. Under his extension, he'll make $10 million through next summer in salary and bonuses. Burfict, who wasn't drafted in 2012 after a career at Arizona State, is the leader of a defense that finished third in the league last season in yards allowed.
Cardinals: The team signed Tommy Kelly, two days after he was cut by the Patriots. Kelly, 33, is coming off surgery to repair a torn ACL but was playing with the Patriots' first-team defense this preseason before he was cut. Arizona was in the market for a tackle after Darnell Dockett was lost to a season-ending knee injury. The team released defensive lineman Ryan McBean.
Titans: Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, a 2011 third-round draft pick out of Southern Cal, signed an extension that keeps him under contract through 2018. Casey's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said it is a four-year deal worth $36 million ,with $20.5 million guaranteed.