November 23, 2014 feels like ages ago. It was the first year of Mike Pettine’s two-year stint as Browns head coach, Brian Hoyer was the starting quarterback, the Browns were 6-4 and Josh Gordon was back for a game in Atlanta following a 10-game suspension.

The Browns won that day thanks, in part, to Gordon’s eight catches and 120 yards. He made a key catch to move into Falcons territory to help set up the game-winning field goal.

That was the last time we saw Gordon anywhere close to what he could have been. Over the course of the next six weeks, his play fell off, the team’s playoff hopes faded and he ended the season suspended for the final game in Baltimore along with Johnny Manziel.

Now, Gordon’s latest appeal for reinstatement has been denied.

There is, somewhere in all of this, a bigger discussion to be had about the NFL’s strict enforcement of its drug program in contrast to its seemingly laissez-faire approach to other, more serious off-field issues. I’m not here to excuse Gordon -- he's been complicit in this, too -- but it is worth noting that Joe Mixon and Tyreek Hill will both be allowed to play in the NFL this season.