Well, we’re off to quite the rollicking start this week.
After such an expansive back and forth with information yesterday, let’s lay out what is happening:
> Walter Thurmond is expected to be suspended today for four games today after violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Thurmond being suspended four games means he is in “Stage 2″ of the substance abuse intervention program. It also means he entered “Stage 1″ in one of three ways: a positive test; a behavioral problem; or self-referral. Entering the first stage goes publicly unreported. Based on talks I’ve had, it appears the Seahawks knew this was coming. Thurmond will sit his four games and is expected back for the regular-season finale. Of note, the four-game ban for being in this stage can include postseason games.
Thurmond is an unrestricted free agent following the season. A fair question is whether this will cost him money in the long run. My initial thought was no, but consider this: Now that Thurmond is in “Stage 2″, it means he’s on probation for 24 months or two full seasons, whichever is less. So, any team that signs him will risk Thurmond getting dinged again and being suspended for a year.
> Brandon Browner is all but done as a Seahawk. ESPN reports his suspension, this time because of a failed substance-abuse test, will be for a calendar year. He was a Pro-Bowler in 2011. He’ll be out of work in 2014. An amazing descent akin to his surprising rise from being cut by Denver and coming out of the CFL to join the Legion of Boom. The Seahawks were waiting to move him to injured reserve and still will likely do so. Browner was reportedly in the league’s substance abuse program in 2005, as well. In the grand scheme of things, with Browner an UFA, this isn’t very relevant to the Seahawks’ plans moving forward. He was likely out regardless.
> What Browner’s suspension does do, is add another name to the burgeoning list of suspended Seahawks over the past couple years. Here’s who they are:
— OL John Moffitt was suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy in 2011.
— OL Allen Barbre was suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy in 2011.
— S Winston Guy was suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy in 2012.
— Browner was suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy last season.
— CB Richard Sherman was suspended four games last season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. He won his appeal, however.
— LB Bruce Irvin was suspended four games to start this season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
— CB Thurmond suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
— Then, Browner for violating the substance-abuse policy.
If you count Sherman, that’s eight. If not, that’s seven. Either way, that’s bad.
> It’s also important to note the league has separate performance-enhancing drugs and substance-abuse policies. Here’s a good overview of them.
> It certainly appears, based on Byron Maxwell’s increasing snap count and work we’ve seen from others in practice, the Seahawks had a good idea this was going to be the situation. At the least, it appears they knew this was coming with Thurmond. Maxwell and Jeremy Lane will be moved into more duty.
> A handful of replacement options for Thurmond and Browner exist.
Former Minnesota Viking Antoine Winfield is “going through the process” with the Seahawks, according to his agent. Winfield has not worked out for Seattle since the Seahawks cut him at the end of training camp. Winfield then retired. He has not signed with the Seahawks.
Former Seahawk and Tacoma native Marcus Trufant worked out for the Seahawks on Monday. Former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Perrish Cox worked out for them a couple weeks ago, along with former Oakland Raider Michael Huff. Huff was signed by the Denver Broncos last week.
DeShawn Shead is a candidate to be summoned from the practice squad. The Seahawks like his size (6 foot 2, 220 pounds) and his recent work in practice. Shead was signed as an undrafted free agent last season.
Rookie Tharold Simon, the Seahawks’ fifth-round pick in this year’s draft, is expected to return to practice Wednesday. He has been reserve/physically unable to perform list since injuring his foot in rookie mini-camp. Simon can practice for three weeks before the Seahawks would have to decide whether to activate him or put him on injured reserve.
> The Seahawks organization is likely to be fined for all these suspensions.
> Last, this is among the least desired scenarios coming off a bye week for a team that has the league’s best record, was getting all its pieces together, and faces the 9-2 Saints with homefield advantage possibly on the line Monday night.
We’ll chat later today and hear from Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, plus players following practice.
> Here’s my story for the paper, basically covering everything discussed above.
> In case you missed it, our John McGrath wrote about Thurmond’s suspension yesterday.
> ESPN says the suspensions are ruining a big week for the Seahawks.
> A look at the playoff picture from the Sporting News.
> Peter King says the 49ers are hitting their stride and answers a question about the Seahawks’ chances of being fined by the league. He says draft picks could also become part of fines from the league.
> The San Francisco Chronicle also says the 49ers are back on track.
> Two Nola.com reporters discuss how the Saints can beat the Seahawks.
> Here’s another look at playoff scenarios, were the season to end today.
> You can vote for who you think should be among the 15 finalists for the Hall of Fame here.