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Monday, November 25, 2013
Suspensions ruining a big week for Seattle

By Terry Blount


RENTON, Wash. -- Like it or not, the Seattle Seahawks have become the poster team for drug-related suspensions.

The Walter Thurmond suspension news was barely a day old when news broke that fellow cornerback Brandon Browner likely will join him on the NFL suspension list.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday night that Browner is facing a one-year suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Browner
Browner already is out with a groin injury, but rest assured, his Seahawks career is over. This is the last year of his contract; he won’t be back.

One day earlier, news broke that Thurmond, who was starting for Browner, would be suspended for four games for non-PED substance abuse.

Browner was suspended one year ago for violated the league policy on using performance-enhancing drugs. That is not the reason for his upcoming suspension.

Fairly or unfairly, this insanity has ruined what would have been a fun week in preparation for the biggest game of the season -- the Monday-night showdown with the New Orleans Saints.

Now most of the talk will center around the Seahawks’ continuing problems with these types of suspensions. Linebacker Bruce Irvin missed the first four games this season with a PED suspension. Cornerback Richard Sherman won an appeal last year at this time over a PED suspension, but, sadly, the perception of guilt remained for some people.

And the Seahawks were viewed as a team out of control as far as keeping players in line on substance-abuse issues. Most of that rhetoric had disappeared until Sunday, when Thurmond’s suspension was reported. The news of Browner’s suspension one day later was unimaginable.

And here’s what is even uglier about the Thurmond and Browner suspensions. Non-PED suspensions come after a player already has either tested positive for a banned substance or has been arrested previously. In Browner’s case, to receive a one-year suspension likely means he was a three-time violator in some fashion.

All of this will be a huge distraction while the Seahawks are preparing for a game against the 9-2 Saints that could decide home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Browner’s suspension is meaningless for the on-field part of this game because he was out with the injury anyway. The Seahawks have quality backups in Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane.

Seattle also may re-sign veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield if they can talk him into coming out of retirement. And longtime Seahawk Marcus Trufant worked out at team headquarters Monday, so he also could join the Seahawks to add more veteran depth.

The Seahawks have a lot of depth already and enough talent that they should be able overcome the loss of the two cornerbacks.

But who will play, how much they will play and how well they will play have become the secondary issue. The Seahawks have an enormous public-relations problem now.

That’s the true sadness of all this news. We should be talking about the only 10-1 team in the NFL and how this can be a season to remember for Seattle and its fans.

That won’t happen, at least not this week. This has become the elephant in the room that the Seahawks can’t control.