Seahawks CB Brandon Browner Banned One Year
With the season's most significant game so far quickly approaching, the big hits keep coming for the Seattle Seahawks.
Only two days removed from learning that CB Walter Thurmond would be suspended four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy, Seattle will now have to move forward without Thurmond and veteran CB Brandon Browner. ESPN's Adam Schefter discovered through league sources that Browner will be suspended one year for violating the league's substance abuse policy, bringing a brutal conclusion to his Seahawk career.
Mike Silver of NFL Network initially broke the story, reporting that Browner would be suspended eight games for a second PED violation. Browner immediately denied these allegations on Twitter, tweeting, “I’m not facing suspension for PEDs, it’s sad that the NFL is reporting this.”
Shortly after the news broke, the story seemed to change by the minute. Silver backed his report, but NFL Network apologized for not correctly identifying Browner's punishment. Eventually, Schefter settled the issue once and for all and announced that Browner would receive a one year penalty from the league office. Schefter also tweeted that the veteran corner had already lost his appeal, officially turning the ban into a done deal.
While Browner has been on the shelf with a severe groin injury and wasn't expected to contribute again until mid-December at the earliest, this is still a big blow for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. The Seahawks have enjoyed great success with Browner and Richard Sherman as the team's top two corners, as their skill sets and physical statures made them perfect fits for Pete Carroll's defense. However, injuries and substance problems have limited Browner the past two seasons. He missed the last four games of the 2012 season due to violating the NFL's PED policy, which could explain why he's receiving such a stiff penalty for this violation.
With both Thurmond and Browner now out of the picture, the Seahawks have already started to look at replacement options. Silver reported that the team has maintained contact with Antoine Winfield, who retired after being released by Seattle in late August. While Winfield mulls a potential comeback, the team will continue to look at other alternatives. Silver reported that longtime Seahawk Marcus Trufant worked out for the team on Monday, and former 49ers corner Perrish Cox was expected to work out for the team today. If none of those veteran options seem viable, Seattle will have to move forward with Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane, and practice squad defender DeShawn Shead instead.
If any good news can come from Browner's suspension, it's the fact that Seattle has excelled without Browner and Thurmond in the past. Late last season, the Seahawks reeled off four straight wins to close the regular season and neither player appeared in any of those contests. Maxwell and Lane did an adequate job as replacements last year under tough circumstances, which gives Seattle hope moving forward regardless of who else the team signs this week. The Seahawks also won't have to worry about making a financial commitment to Browner, who will become a free agent in March and certainly won't be back with the team.