Reeling from an awkward 24-21 defeat Sunday in Miami he blamed on errors in “fundamental, basic things,” coach Pete Carroll said Monday morning NFL rules precluded him from discussing potential suspensions of star cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner for violations of the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs, specifically the non-prescription use of the stimulant Adderall.
Carroll did talk about the secondary’s depth, mentioning reserves Marcus Trufant, Bryon Maxwell, Walter Thurmond and Jeremy Lane, indicating he’s preparing to go without the two starters, who are reported to be appealing this week their potential four-game suspensions.
“We’re fortunate,” Carroll said on his regular Monday show on ESPN 710 radio. “We have good depth.”
Steve Wyche of NFL Network reported Monday that Sherman has confirmed that he and Browner have been notified of the suspensions, and that Sherman says he has never taken Adderall. The test reportedly was taken in September, and the positive results have been known to the NFL since October.
Both players said they are appealing the suspensions. The timeline is unclear. While some reports say the appeals could happen this week, others say that Sherman and Browner will be able to play in Chicago Sunday against the Bears. Even if they do play Sunday, a denial of the appeals next week would keep them out of the regular season’s remaining four games, but would be eligible to return for a playoff game.
Atlanta center Joe Hawley, Tampa Bay cornerback Aqib Talib, and the Giants’ Will Hill and Tyler Sash have been suspended for Adderall use this season. Another player, Giants running back Andre Brown, was successful in the off-season in his appeal involving Adderall.
Adderall is a stimulant often used to treat children with attention deficit hyperactiveity disorder (ADHD), although its use has grown rapidly among adults, older students and athletes seeking more energy and focus. The NFL permits use only under a doctor’s prescription. It is not a steroid.
The NFL, by agreement with the players union, tests for PEDs up to six times in the offseason and once during training camp. During the season, up to 10 players each week on each team are randomly selected for testing.
The Seahawks had three earlier PED suspensions: guard John Moffitt, for what his agent said was non-prescription use of Adderall, guard Allen Barbre, who was released after his suspension was up, and rookie safety Winston Guy, who played in two games and was suspended last week for four games.
Browner made the Pro Bowl last year and Sherman was recently described by si.com as the best cover corner in the league. Their absences would be significant.
Despite Carroll’s optimism, the Seahawks’ depth is debatable. Trufant, who at 32 Christmas Day is the Seahawks oldest player, is primarily a nickel back (two starts) who has slowed. Third-year pro Thurmond’s promising career has been compromised by injury and has yet to play this season. Maxwell, a sixth-round pick in 2011, has played only four games this year because of injuries, mostly on special teams. Lane, a rookie sixth-rounder, has played in eight games, mostly on special teams.
Carroll said safety Earl Thomas would not be moved from his position to corner.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, the Bears had five starters who left their 28-10 win over Minnesota Sunday and did not return: WR Devin Hester (concussion), RB Matt Forte (ankle), guard Lance Louis (knee; lost for season), CB Charles Tillman (ankle) and guard and ex-Seahawk Chris Spencer (knee).