RENTON, Wash. — The Seahawks had no answers after they returned from their loss in Miami.
Not for a defense that gave up two fourth-quarter leads, and certainly not regarding the potential suspensions of cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman.
In fact, coach Pete Carroll declined to address the question.
“We really can’t comment on that at all,” Carroll said. “That is a situation that’s between the players and the league and we have no position to comment in any way about it.”
According to multiple reports, Sherman and Browner each face the possibility of four-game suspensions under the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs after testing positive for a banned substance.
Will they play on Sunday in Chicago?
“As of right now? Yeah,” Carroll said. “I’m planning on those guys playing.”
But with so much uncertainty surrounding the case, it’s worth laying out exactly what we know and what we don’t.
What we know
- Sherman and Browner were found to have banned substances in their systems.
This is a violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, which calls for a four-game suspension for the first offense. The urine tests were conducted on samples collected on the same day in September, according to both Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
- The positive tests related to amphetamines, according to reports. The league never specifies which banned substance is found, even after a suspension is announced.
Multiple reports have stated that it was Adderall, a prescription drug that can be used to treat Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The league doesn’t test for Adderall specifically, but rather for some of the chemicals contained in the stimulant. Adderall was added to the list of substances banned under the performance-enhancing drugs policy in 2006. Before that, the drug fell under the league’s substance-abuse policy.
- Sherman and Browner have appealed the suspensions.
A player who is found to have violated the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs has the right to appeal that finding before the punishment is imposed. That’s what Sherman and Browner have done, according to multiple reports. After returning from Miami, Sherman tweeted: “This is (an) issue will be resolved soon and the truth will come out. Not worried.” He later sent a message to the NFL Network stating he had not “taken anything.”
What we don’t know
- When will the appeals be heard?
The league would like the hearings to be held next week, according to ProFootballTalk.com. That doesn’t mean that’s when it will happen, though. As of Monday night, no hearing had been set, and there’s no way to forecast when the hearing will occur.
- How many players win appeals?
People have consistently cited Andre Brown of the New York Giants as one of the only players to win an appeal, and he did have his suspension overturned earlier this year. Truthfully, we don’t know how many players have won appeals. The league announces a suspension only after a player either declines to appeal it or has had the appeal denied. The collective-bargaining agreement requires the league to maintain confidentiality before the announcement, which would prevent a player from being stigmatized for violating the PED policy before he has a chance to appeal. There could be many more players who have won appeals without it ever being publicized because the confidentiality of the process was maintained. In the case of Sherman and Browner, the reports of a violation have pulled back the curtain on the process before it is completed.
- What will Seattle do if they are suspended?
The Seahawks have Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant, who each started multiple games during the first half of last season. Rookie Jeremy Lane, second-year player Byron Maxwell and DeShawn Shead, who is on the practice squad, would also be available. “We have a very solid young bunch of guys at the spot,” Carroll said.
If or when the Seahawks will have to turn to those guys remains unknown.