According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, starting cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman have both been suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.
Filed to ESPN: Seattle CBs Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner facing 4-game suspensions for violating performance enhancing drug policy.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 25, 2012
Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are appealing suspensions, insisting they are innocent. Appeal could be heard as early as this week.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 25, 2012
Additionally, NFL.com reported that the positive tests were for Adderall. As the ESPN report noted, the appeals could be heard this week, but if the suspension process drags on, both players would be able to play until the league rules on their appeals.
News of the suspension came down after the team had already left on its flight back to Seattle, so team officials were unavailable for comment (though they usually can't comment in these situations anyway). When reached by phone, Browner's agent said he could not comment as his client was traveling and could not be reached.
Browner made the Pro Bowl in his first season after intercepting six passes last season, and Sherman, who took over as a starter midway through last season, has a team-high four interceptions this season and has earned a reputation as one of the league's best shutdown corners.
The Seahawks' Sunday would have been bad enough without this news. Seattle blew two seven-point leads in the fourth quarter, dropping a very winnable game against the Dolphins, who had lost three straight coming into the game. At 6-5, the Seahawks are still in contention for a playoff spot, especially with other NFC Wild Card hopefuls New Orleans, Minnesota and Tampa Bay all losing, but finishing strong without Browner and Sherman for four of the final five games would be a very tough task.
If Browner and Sherman do indeed end up serving these suspensions, the Seahawks' options at cornerback Marcus Trufant, who has been playing as a nickel back this season, but was an outside cornerback for his entire career prior to this year, Walter Thurmond, who recently came back from the physically unable to perform list, second-year corner Byron Maxwell and rookie Jeremy Lane, who has seen playing time on special teams.
This is the second time in as many weeks the Seahawks have had a player suspended for violating league policy on PEDs. Rookie safety Winston Guy was suspended four games last week after failing a drug test that his agent said resulted from Guy taking an over-the-counter supplement that he didn't know contained a banned substance. Guy did not elect to appeal his suspension.
The Seahawks are back in Seattle, but will not have a comment other than to say that they are aware of the reports.
Richard Sherman did take to Twitter late Sunday to weigh in, writing, "This issue will be resolved soon and the truth will come out. Not worried.
This is issue will be resolved soon and the truth will come out. Not worried— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) November 26, 2012