Brandon Browner Suspended First 4 Games Of 2014
The Brandon Browner saga has finally come to an end. The soon-to-be free agent corner was reinstated by the NFL on Tuesday, and the NFL announced that he will be suspended for the first four games of the 2014 NFL season.
A joint statement released by the NFL and the NFLPA reads: “The NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to conditionally reinstate Brandon Browner from his indefinite suspension under the Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse. Browner was suspended without pay for the Seattle Seahawks’ final five games of the 2013 season, including the playoffs. His contract with the Seahawks expires at the end of the 2013 League Year on March 11. He will be eligible to sign with a club and participate in offseason and preseason activities. Should he comply with the terms of the Substance Abuse Policy and Program, he will be fully reinstated after serving a four-game suspension without pay at the start of the 2014 regular season and forfeiting an additional four weeks of pay.”
A four-game suspension may cost him a quarter of the season, but it is still a huge win for Browner. There was a possibility that he was going to be forced to sit out the entire 2014 season, but he’ll now only miss a portion of it. He's all but guaranteed to leave Seattle, and with free agency officially kicking off on Tuesday, the market for his services will undoubtedly open up. Being able to fully participate in offseason activities is the biggest boon for Browner. This ensures that he’ll find a team at some point in the coming weeks instead of waiting in limbo for months on end.
Browner is a big, physical corner that excels in press coverage. While he doesn’t have the speed to match up with smaller, faster receivers, he shouldn’t have much trouble finding a new home. Good corners are hard to come by, and Browner played a pivotal role in the Legion of Boom. Although, he will turn 30 before the 2014 NFL season officially kicks off, so teams may be wary of his age. It wouldn’t be surprising if he is eventually converted into a safety sometime in the future.
While Browner was able to avoid a full-season suspension, the penalty for his next strike will be harsh. Whoever decides to gamble and sign him better hope that he stays clean and out of trouble.