Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon already has two strikes against him after testing positive for codeine in February, and could get kicked out of the NFL for at least a year if he fails a third drug test, league sources said Saturday.

Gordon's two-game suspension and four-game fine for the codeine -- which he said was contained in cough syrup prescribed for strep throat -- means he was already in Stage Two of the NFL's substance abuse program.

For a player to be suspended, he must have violated the policy at least one other time. That means that Gordon -- who failed three marijuana tests in college and was dismissed from Baylor and Utah -- has tested positive at least five times since October, 2010.

One more failed test and Gordon's storybook NFL career could be in serious jeopardy.

Gordon's positive test in February likely pushes him into Stage 3 of the program, according to league sources, where he faces banishment from the NFL for at least one calendar year if he fails another test.

A player kicked out of the league for substance abuse can apply for reinstatement after the year is up, and it's up to Commissioner Roger Goodell to decide if and when the player can return. Once a player reaches Stage 3, he remains there for the duration of his career.

That means Gordon, who told The Plain Dealer in July that "being sober is not a struggle for me,'' is now apparently skating on very thin ice.

One failed test in Stage 2 doesn't automatically enter a player into Stage 3, but in Gordon's case, it's believed he's that far down the road in less than one year since being taken in the supplemental draft.

There are three ways in which a player immediately advances to Stage 3:

• 1. Two positive drug tests in Stage 2;

• 2. Two instances in which he fails to cooperate with his testing or treatment; or

• 3. One positive test and one instance of failure to comply with his testing or treatment program.

If Gordon is still in Stage 2 after this current episode, he'd face a six-game suspension if he fails another test. But at least one NFL source said Gordon's track record has likely landed him in the third and final phase of the program.

As it stands, Gordon will miss the opener at home against Miami Sept. 8 and a division matchup against Baltimore Sept. 15. He'll be eligible to rejoin the team on Sept. 16 and can participate in all of training camp and the four preseason games.

Gordon will be docked $148,894 -- or 4/17th of his $632,802 base salary. The Browns might also go after a portion of Gordon's $2.3 million signing bonus. Overall, he received a four-year deal worth $5.3 million, including almost $3.8 million guaranteed, after the previous regime spent the 2013 second-round pick to take him in the supplemental draft.