Asked about the possible, four-game suspension of cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner due to violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll predictably did not comment on the issue.
The Seahawks could face up to a $500,000 fine for talking about player suspensions while they are still going through the process, so that’s why Carroll is not speaking on the issue at this time.
“Really we can’t comment on that at all,” Carroll said. “That is a situation between the players and the league. And we have no position to comment in any way about it.”
First reported by ESPN, both players are accused of taking Adderall, a prescription stimulant more commonly used to treat attention deficit hyper-activity disorder (ADHD).
Browner and Sherman claim they are innocent, and are appealing the suspension.
According to several reports, the league is attempting to schedule an appeal hearing for the two players sometime next week.
That makes sense, because Carroll said that he expects both players to play this week at Chicago.
“As of right now, I’m planning on those guys playing,” Carroll said.
Browner agent, Peter Schaffer, said his client is innocent.
“Brandon Browner has no knowledge of how an illegal substance could have gotten into his system,” Schaffer said. “He is an outstanding person, and a very good football player. And he takes tremendous care of his body, and is very careful what he puts into it.
“We’re exploring all avenues to try and figure out how any substance out of the ordinary would be in his system.”
Schaffer could not confirm when a hearing date for the appeal will be scheduled. However, he did say normal protocol in this circumstance is for the league to try and schedule a date 20 days after the notice is sent to the player that has tested positive.
Schaffer said that Browner received the notice from the league last week. Schaffer also did not rule out the possibility that his client’s appeal process could spill over into 2013.
But if Browner and Sherman are suspended, Carroll said his team has enough depth behind the two, Pro Bowl-caliber starters to keep things going on the back end of the defense.
“We have a very solid, young bunch of guys that have been with us a long time,” Carroll said. “And also Marcus (Trufant) has been there for a good while. Jeremy Lane has been doing things for us that we’re excited about, and he’s a very exciting football player.
“(Byron) Maxwell has done a great job for us on special teams. And when he gets his chances, he does good stuff. So we’d expect him to be a contributor whenever we call on him, just like any other position. These guys are ready to go.”
Trufant and Walter Thurmond are listed behind Sherman and Browner on the depth chart. However, I think the likely scenario would be Trufant stating inside on nickel situations, with Thurmond playing one side, and Maxwell and Lane competing for the other spot.
Carroll was asked if his team is out of wiggle room at this point, sitting at 6-5.
“Well, nobody knows,” he said. “Everybody’s going to predict that this is how it’s going to be, but we don’t know that. I made a big point about that to our team. You don’t know how it’s going to go, but we do know that we have to take care of business. We don’t have many chances left. We have five games to get it done, and we can’t just lock into we’re going to win all of our games at home either – that ain’t going to be that easy.
“Right now it’s Chicago. And it’s a five-game push to see how far you can take it.”
Carroll said both linebacker Leroy Hill (ankle) and offensive lineman James Carpenter (leg) appear on schedule to practice on Wednesday.