Cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner will play for the Seahawks in Chicago on Sunday.
Beyond that, no one knows. What we do know is that the two reportedly are adamant that they have not taken the drug, Adderall, that they reportedly have tested positive for. Both reportedly are appealing the four-game suspensions the league is trying to levy against them.
If the punishments are administered after the Chicago game, the team’s starting corners would miss the final four games, and the Seahawks, now an underachieving 6-5, would have to try to make the playoffs without them.
The appeals would seem to have little chance of success as the league’s drug suspensions are almost never overturned. Six players were suspended earlier this season for Adderall results, and Tampa Bay cornerback Eric Wright was suspended Monday after his appeal failed.
Sherman and Browner seem poised to vehemently fight the accusations.
NFL.com reported that Sherman told friends that he drank out of a teammate’s bottle, which had an Adderall pill.
Sherman denied that report, tweeting, “It’s totally false. It will be resolved in time and I have never taken anything.”
Sherman’s agent, Kevin Poston, told USA Today there was a good explanation for the positive drug test. “What appears is not always the case,” Poston said. “Hopefully, when the facts come out, justice will prevail.”
Meanwhile, Browner reportedly is stunned because he is in the substance-abuse program based on a positive test with Denver in 2005 and has been careful not to do anything that might generate a positive test.
“He’s someone who’s tested regularly –up to three times a week,” Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com told KJR. “So he’s told people, ‘Look, I knew what I was up against. I don’t even drink a beer because I’m so wary of having a positive for anything.’ So he’s been adamant that ‘I’m not on anything. I’ve gone out of my way not to put any sort of substance, supplement or anything other than what you would normally eat and drink.’”
His agent, Peter Schaffer, told reporters, “Brandon Browner has no knowledge of how any illegal substance could have gotten into his system. … He takes tremendous care of his body and he is very careful with what he puts into it. We’re exploring all avenues to try and figure out how any substance out of the ordinary would be in his system.”
Per USA Today, Browner thinks the officials who did his test didn’t follow protocol and might have tainted or mixed up his urine sample.
While Sherman and Browner appeal, coach Pete Carroll expects them to be available Sunday in Chicago.
“As of right now, I’m planning on those guys playing,” he told reporters Monday.
He also declined to comment on the case — revealing details of confidential league issues can carry a fine of up to $500,000.
“Because it’s so important we do this properly, I’m not going to comment on anything about it. That’s the best way to do this because these are league issues,” Carroll said. “At this point I’m going to keep it there and hope you can respect that this is the way we have to do that, and we can talk about it later on.”
The Hawks surely would miss Sherman and Browner, who generally have done a great job of playing physical coverage. Without them, the Hawks would have to go with Marcus Trufant, Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane. And safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor would need to be a little more Johnny on the spot in coverage.
The pending suspensions of Browner and Sherman come on the heels of a four-game suspension handed to rookie safety Winston Guy last week. Two linemen, John Moffitt and Allen Barbre, also were docked four games in the past year. Moffitt served his suspension while on IR last season; Barbre was cut after serving his this season.