The NFL has not yet ruled on what’s next for Cleveland’s Josh Gordon, but the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot is reporting the Browns are bracing for the star wide receiver to be out eight games.

Gordon appealed his positive drug test earlier this week. His appeal is based on the results of the test, which his lawyers say do not show high enough levels of the offending substance — marijuana — to trigger a positive test. If he wins, he won’t miss any games, but that’s a best-case scenario the Browns won’t count on. Instead, the team is trying to prepare for a loss of the best receiver in the league in 2013.

He was suspended the first two games of last season because of a substance abuse policy violation, so this isn’t uncharted territory for Cleveland. But with a different coach and a different quarterback — regardless of who starts — it still hurts the team’s preparation heading into the season.

All this for a player who says he inhaled second-hand smoke of marijuana.

The league is operating off of a drug policy from 2006. There are ongoing talks to change the policy, but nothing concrete has been decided.

Attitudes and laws about marijuana are changing in this country. In 2012, both Washington and Colorado — states with NFL franchises — legalized cannabis. Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Illinois, Maryland and Minnesota (four NFL states) have passed laws allowing for medicinal marijuana. In July, the editorial board of the New York Times called for a repeal of “the new Prohibition.”