Josh Gordon will miss the entire 2014 season following the NFL's announcement Wednesday that it has upheld the Cleveland Browns receiver's yearlong suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
Gordon's suspension is effective immediately, and he will have to apply for reinstatement following the season.
Gordon, who led the NFL in receiving yards last season, issued an apology in a statement released by the NFL Players' Association.
"I'd like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans," Gordon said in the 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 23-year-old Gordon met with league arbitrator Harold Henderson to appeal the suspension on Aug. 4.
The Browns have been baffled as to why it has taken so long for the league to rule on the appeal and have been increasingly frustrated over where it would leave them and Gordon, team sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Gordon was selected by the Browns in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft - a somewhat surprising move following his marijuana-related incidents at two different colleges.
Gordon set the Browns' single-season franchise record with 1,646 receiving yards last year despite serving a two-game suspension at the beginning of the year. The breakout performance included one dazzling four-game stretch where Gordon had 36 receptions for 774 yards and five touchdowns.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPN.com Browns reporter Pat McManamon and The Associated Press contributed to this report.