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Browns WR Josh Gordon's suspension shows he already has a failed drug test in the NFL

After testing positive for codeine, a banned substance in the NFL, Browns WR Josh Gordon picked up a two-game suspension, meaning he was already in Stage Two of the league's substance abuse program.

Those not in tune to the underground drug trade learned something a few years back when JaMarcus Russell, then the subject of a federal investigation, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance in July, 2010.

That substance, codeine-based cough syrup, is the main ingredient in a drink that goes by several names, perhaps most popularly called "Purple Drank."

The phrase Purple Drank became something of a punch line, which was the easiest way to describe Russell's horrendous three-year career in Oakland.

Reports have sprung up talking about the use of codeine syrup inside the NFL, and most recently, the positive test for the substance got Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon a two-game suspension.

Gordon's statement:

"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," Gordon said. "Therefore, I have chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation. I sincerely apologize for the impact on my team, coaches, and Browns fans."

In other words, we're being led to believe an NFL player, who absolutely has to be aware of Russell's plight, allegedly received a prescription in February for a substance that's knowingly banned in the NFL for strep throat. While it's easy for Gordon to hide behind the fact he had a prescription, it seems odd he'd get a prescription for narcotic-level pain medication for strep throat, and perhaps even odder any doctor he'd choose to treat him for such an ailment would be unaware codeine is a banned substance in the NFL.

There's always the "plead ignorance" card, or, in this case, the passive tossing of the doctor under the bus, but considering Gordon's spotty track record, it's really hard to believe this was a simple accident.

Keep in mind, Gordon would not be suspended if this was a first offense - suspension can only come after a second offense, with a first offense landing the player in the league's substance abuse program. A suspension now is confirmation is failed a test in the NFL - something he hasn't even been a part of for one full year.

Add in the three failed tests Gordon had in college, he's failed at least five drug tests since 2010. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer highlights the issues Gordon has had, which bring back to mind the risks the Browns were running when taking him in the second round of the 2012 Supplemental Draft.

One might think anyone who's been caught that often may want to really turn that wrist to look at the ingredients in whatever he's taking, or, perhaps have the foresight to inform a health care provider his job has a strict policy against the ingestion of certain drugs. It wouldn't seem out of line for a doctor to check into the background of a patient and recommend medication that would allow a person to stay in compliance with their work.

This is, of course, assuming there's an ethical doctor involved, or even one that exists in the first place.

He's lucky to have gotten just a two-game suspension.