There are conflicting reports coming from different media sources, but it seems that Brandon Browner is facing a one-year suspension for violation of the NFL's Substance Abuse Program. This has been reported by NFL.com's Albert Breer and ESPN's Adam Schefter, and the news of a suspension was first broken by NFL.com's Michael Silver, though Silver got most of the actual facts of the suspension wrong, originally reporting it was 8 games for PED violations.
NFL Media columnist Michael Silver reported Monday that Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner is facing a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. The suspension is for one year, NFL Media's Albert Breer reported, per union sources. Browner has filed an appeal, per Breer, which has been heard. The Seahawks are ready to move on without Browner, per Silver.
Silver previously reported that Browner was facing a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, rather than substance abuse. We apologize for the error.
If this report of a year-long suspension is true, it means that Browner is likely in Stage III of the program, meaning he's had multiple failed tests in the past. Browner was already likely to miss most of the rest of this season with a groin injury so it doesn't effect a whole lot this year, but going forward, this will certainly hurt his ability to get a new deal. Browner is a free agent after 2013.
Seattle has reportedly contacted Antoine Winfield, Marcus Trufant, and will work out Perrish Cox on Tuesday. These are all probably more related to the Walter Thurmond suspension though, because Seattle will need depth at nickelback, not as much on the outside.
Below is the pieced together original report I put together - it was sort of a real-time attempt at information gathering. It jumps around, but can show you kind of how the situation developed. Most of the stuff below is now out of date, but I wanted to leave up what I had originally said.
NFL.com's Mike Silver is reporting that Brandon Browner will be suspended 8 games for another violation of the league's Performance Enhancing Drugs policy, but Browner took to twitter to deny it.
The original report stated the suspension was for PEDs but now it's looking like it's actually substance abuse related. At this point, it's looking like the report of an 8-game suspension are wrong.
Per NFL.com's original story, which has since been changed:
Browner also missed the final four games of last season for violating the league's PED policy. Second-time violators of the policy are suspended eight games, per league policy. He's currently recovering from a groin injury and was not expected to be available until mid-December, coach Pete Carroll said last week. This suspension should end Browner's Seahawks career, according to Silver's sources. His contract expires at the end of the season and the organization is believed to be done with him. Browner's agent declined comment to Silver, citing the confidentiality of the league's program.
NOTE: The language in this report has been changed several times since the original publishing. Not sure where we if this will change again, but now it's saying:
This suspension is for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. The Seahawks are ready to move on without him.
The report also adds:
This suspension will end Browner's Seahawks career, according to Silver's sources. His contract expires at the end of the season. Browner's agent declined comment to Silver, citing the confidentiality of the league's program.
Silver reports that the topic has already been brought up in a recent team meeting. Center Max Unger and cornerback Richard Sherman addressed their teammates. The message: We're going to the Super Bowl. If any of you want to do this stuff, go ahead. You won't be coming with us.
When the report of PEDs first came out, Browner responded:
I'm not facing suspension for PEDs, it's sad that the NFL is reporting this...— Brandon Browner (@bbrowner27) November 25, 2013
His agent also responded to the report:
Brandon Browner isn't facing a suspension for PED's the report is 100% wrong.— Peter Schaffer (@peterjschaffer) November 26, 2013
CBSSports' Jason La Canfora backed Browners' story:
Spoke to a source with knowledge of Brandon Browner's status who said he did not have another positive test for PEDs ...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) November 26, 2013
Source would not elaborate on any other possible violations of NFL policy that may have result in suspension but adamant nothing w/PEDs— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) November 26, 2013
Regardless, and I'm sure there may be nuances to the rulebook that I'm unaware of, but it seems that the 8-game suspension story doesn't add up, for what it's worth. Even if Browner and his agent's somewhat ambiguously worded tweets are meant to imply the suspension is actually for violation of the league's Substance Abuse policy (not the PED policy), like Walter Thurmond, Browner's suspension should be only 4 games (from what I understand). While 2nd time PED violations would get an 8-game suspension, you have to wonder why Browner and his agent would publicly deny it if it were true. It's just weird.
Silver is also reporting that the Seahawks will indeed sign Antoine Winfield and another corner to bolster their depth there (it has been Perrish Cox is signed and Perrish Cox is coming for a tryout but it keeps changing), but it might be worth holding off believing that story until this Browner deal gets straightened out.
What a weird, weird situation. I'll update as soon as I find out more. Stay tuned.
More from Field Gulls:
- Walter Thurmond suspended four games for violation of NFL substance abuse policy (non-PED)
- Week 12: Broncos, Chiefs naughty, making Seahawks look very nice
- Flashback: Russell Wilson's QB competition at Wisconsin
- Pete Carroll talks cornerback situation, bye week updates
- Seahawks interested in bringing back Antoine Winfield?