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No Harvin or Browner, not that it matters

12/18/2013

RENTON, Wash. -- The seemingly unending saga of uncertainty on receiver Percy Harvin didn’t get much clearer Wednesday. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Harvin would not practice Wednesday.

But there is some resolution on cornerback Brandon Browner's situation. The NFL announced late Wednesday that Browner will be suspended indefinitely for a substance-abuse violation, and the suspension starts immediately.

As for Harvin is has become a bit ludicrous at this point, but here’s the bottom line. Without Browner and Harvin, the Seahawks are capable of winning the Super Bowl.

Byron Maxwell has played lights out as the starter at cornerback, and the Seattle receiving corps may be the most underrated in the league. The team is 12-2 without Harvin, aside from his cameo appearance in one game. Would he help? Of course. But he's a luxury at this point.

Harvin still isn’t able to practice on his surgically repaired hip. He played a total of 19 plays in one game on Nov. 17 against Minnesota, but hasn’t played since.

Each day that passes without him being able to practice adds to the doubts about whether he will return this season. Maybe he'll be back in the playoffs. But how a player goes from returning three and half months after hip surgery, looks good in one game and returns a kickoff 58 yards, appears unhurt, then doesn’t ever practice again, seems unexplainable. And no reasonable explanations have come.

At least the Seahawks now know it's time to move on without Browner. On Nov. 25, news broke that Browner could face a one-year suspension because his violation came when he was in Stage 3 on the NFL substance-abuse program. For more than three weeks, nothing was announced. Even Carroll is frustrated by the situation earlier on Wednesday.

“It has taken a long time,” Carroll said of the limbo status on Browner. “We’ve been a little disappointed on that.”

Browner appealed the suspension and reportedly turned down a counter offer from the NFL for his suspension to end next October. Browner feels the long suspension is not deserved because he has only two positive tests. He missed three testing dates, but was playing in the Canadian Football league at the time. It's likely Browner will appeal again, or take his case to federal court.

Either way, he is done for this season, and likely will not play again for Seattle. However, even if Browner were to return this week, he wouldn’t start. Carroll won’t say that directly, but it’s obvious Maxwell has proved himself in his chance as the starter, picking off three passes in the past two games.

“Byron has done a great job,” Carroll said. “That Wally Pip story comes to life sometimes. It’s turned out very well for us.”

And the Seahawks will have a tough decision to make next week when cornerback Walter Thurmond, who was backing up Browner, returns from his four-week suspension for substance abuse.

“I’m just getting you a little lead in to next week’s story,” Carroll joked.

So, while Harvin remains invisible instead of invincible, and Browner is gone, the Seahawks march on and are just fine without them.