Seahawks Insider

Browner suspended indefinitely; releases a statement

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on Dec. 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm with 57 Comments »
December 19, 2013 12:23 am

The NFL has officially announced Brandon Browner’s suspension:

Brandon Browner of the Seattle Seahawks has been suspended indefinitely without pay for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Browner’s suspension begins immediately.

What Pete Carroll said earlier in the day seemed to indicate the Browner news was about to spill.Before answering about Browner’s status, he asked the head media relations director if they knew anything for sure yet.

The Seahawks have been fine without Browner and should be going forward. Walter Thurmond returns from his suspension next week.

Two more things: Remember that Browner turned down a deal from the NFL during the appeal process. And, expect him to sue the league.

Browner just released a statement:

“I want to thank the Seahawks organization for the incredible opportunity they gave me when they took a chance on a player who was out of the NFL and playing in the CFL for 4 years. I also want to thank all of my teammates, coaches, trainers, staff and the 12’s for their support, respect, and friendship and for helping me grow into the player, father, and person I am today. I have been treated with nothing but first class by everyone associated with the Seattle Seahawks and for that I am forever grateful. Although I disagree with the circumstances surrounding my suspension, I accept responsibility for all of my actions and I apologize for any that causes any unflattering reflections of my family and the Seahawks. I believe in my innocence and will continue to fight with all legal resources available to me to. Go Hawks!!!”

His agent chimed in on Twitter:

Also, here’s a link to the league’s substance-abuse policy, explaining the different stages. Browner committed a violation while in Stage 3, meaning he will be suspended for at least one calendar year. That’s why the “indefinite” language was used by the league. He can appeal to re-enter the league.

Browner’s possible reinstatement to the league following the suspension will be solely up to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

As you can see below, Ian Rapoport first reported the news.

Leave a comment Comments → 57
  1. Dukeshire says:

    Indefinitely? That sure doesn’t feel like 4 games…

  2. seahawksteven777 says:

    It took them that long to decide THIS?

  3. I wonder if he sues the league? Could get interesting if he does

  4. DisplacedSeahawkFan says:

    He absolutely should sue the league. Because he appeals and turns down an offer he goes from a one year suspension to an indefinite one? I hope he takes his case to federal court and gets millions in punitive damages.

  5. Wow. Finally they make a decision.

  6. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Really it is no great loss to the team with the way Maxwell has been playing.

    Bye Bye Browner.

  7. Southendzone says:

    Huh? Can’t they pick a length of time? That’s crazy.

  8. Agreed, I hope the league gets screwed. If what we have heard is true, they should be worried in court of law. And I hope his lawyers stick it to them hard

  9. Can the league really do this? Obviously they have, but is this a gray area ploy to bleed BB dry in legal fees? The union needs to step up in his behalf. This is insidious.

  10. This is a ploy to make him pay with his career regardless of the outcome. This is the league’s way of covering its ass with regard to a poorly implemented drug testing and oversight program.

    If they can’t decide (and this isn’t a decision) then he need to be clear to play.

    Step up NFLPA!

  11. The NFL is so ridiculously stupid. BB smokes some weed, gets suspended indefinitely. Aldon Smith has felony gun charges, shoots people at his parties, crashes his car while drunk and stones at 7am into a tree, and gets to keep on playing. Makes plenty of sense to me…what a joke. They should be ashamed.

  12. chuck_easton says:

    It’s the usual 1 year suspension. The actual wording in the CBA and agreed to by the union is indefinite suspension with the ability to apply for reinstatement after one year.

    So they went with the one year.

  13. bird_spit says:

    NFL – we will all be watching.

    Yes the team survives but there is nothing just in this decision. The union needs to put out a statement and back browner.

  14. GeorgiaHawk says:

    This Knuckle head has broken the rules how many times now? And still there are those that keep defending him. Unbelievable.

    He can sit at home now for the rest of the season ,( smoking out of his Bong with Thurmond) while they watch Maxwell and Lane help the Seahawks win the Super Bowl.

  15. I suspect “indefinitely” simply means the two sides haven’t come to an agreement how long it should be. He probably wants 4 games and the league is probably insisting the “rest of the season” or maybe rest of the season plus 4 next year, meaning no playoffs this season and limited bargaining leverage in free agency.

    If I were Browner I would fight that too. If for no other reason than the fact he needs to be able to showcase his talents for free agency in the offseason. Frankly I think the league will ultimately sit tight and force his hand. They have all the leverage and then some.

  16. chuck_easton says:


    As I already said, standard suspension. The wording in the CBA is ‘indefinite suspension with the ability to apply for reinstatement after one year’.

    This gets reported as a 1 year suspension.

    The tweet a above simply says Browners appeal was denied and the league imposed the ‘one year’ suspension for testing positive while in Stage 3.

    It isn’t some. It conspiracy or some decision to mess with Browner.

    Appeal denied full suspension enforced.

  17. Antideluvian says:

    I sense a lawsuit….in 3…..2…..1……

  18. seahawksteven777 says:

    Even though Browner won’t play another down for the Seahawks again, I’d still like him to take it to court and beat the NFL on this drug issue. It really needs to be changed.

  19. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Good Chuck, now we can move on.

    I think the real issue here is are we better with him or without him?

    I think we are better without him, and Maxwell has proven that in his last three games and at the end of last year.

    I also think that with Browner, (the new Leroy hill) held the leadership in the secondary back because Sherman and Thomas were a little intimidated by him so they were reluctant to step up and be bigger leaders. Now with Browner out of the way they have stepped up nicely and the secondary overall is playing at a much higher level.

  20. What a shame for BB. I’m sure he will look back at this stretch of his life with much regret and lament his poor decisions. I hope he gets his fecal matter strai

  21. chuck_easton says:


    There is very little chance of a lawsuit being successful.

    When Browner signed with the Seahawks he was advised he was in Stage 3. The time to contest his placement was then. He didn’t. Instead he went along with the program that allows for up to 10 unannounced tests per month.

    Three years later, after already failing a PED test and serving a four game suspension he tests positive for a banned recreational drug. His defence at his appeal was the Sherman defence.

    The collector used a broken cup and transferred it to a different cup thus potentially causing a contaminated sample. ( sound familiar? )

    Except this time the NFL was ready and had the specimen collector swear an Affidavit that this didn’t occur. So you have a licensed collector saying the collection was handled completely according to procedure and you have a guy that has failed multiple tests and already suspended for PEDs saying ‘sure the test was positive…but it was because the specimen collector might have contaminated the sample when he poured it into a different cup ( just like what happened to my good buddy Sherman and you let him off).

    The appeal was DOA and Browner got the full suspension allowed under the CBA

  22. *straight some day. Dumb phone…..

  23. How do you know all of these details Chuck? I hadn’t heard that and if it’s true it’s hard to feel sorry for him.

  24. bird_spit says:

    Do the Hawks retain his rights next year? I have no doubt Brandon Browner will be highly sought after when his suspension ends. He will make one hell of a strong safety even if he loses a step. And we all know he makes one hell of a CB under this system. This system is going to be copycat’ed by many, and BB will make some squad whole next year (clears throat, Jacksonville).

  25. GeorgiaHawk says:

    We just don’t need stupid players on this team if we are going to win a Super Bowl.
    MNHawk- Browner had a chance last year to have much regret and lament his poor decisions when he was suspended for Peds.

    I’m just glad that this seems to be all over now so it won’t be a distraction to the teams goals moving forward.

  26. RDPoulsbo says:

    Good. Now he can get off the 53 man roster, cut preferably and they can elevate someone else that could at least help at practice or ST.

    He had his chance last year regardless of PED/weed track and he still couldn’t follow the rules. Maybe he can beat the rap, but I really don’t care. He’s plenty old enough to take responsibility for his actions and it’s time he owns up to the decisions he made.

  27. Did the team really lose Browner and add Maxwell? I don’t think so. They always had both. The depth on the team has taken a hit (like Browner, in more ways than one).

    Was Sherman scared to be a leader and talk last year with Browner on the team or did he become the voice of the franchise to a degree? Maybe Sherman will “come out of his shell” now that BB is suspended?

    A team as great as the Hawks can lose some players here and there and still win the SB. However, you can’t continue to lose too many players or you simply won’t be as good/competitive.

    It’s not like Mr. Happy sucked as a coach three years ago with a losing record but has improved so much more now. He’s not necessarily getting better as a coach but the talent level he’s coaching certainly is. That’s the biggest reason for this team doing so well.

    We never had Harvin (realistically) so his “loss” really only begins to count when actual real people/players can’t be resigned because of his supposed “importance” to the team.

  28. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Actually if you look it up Sherman did in fact say in a interview last year that he was willing to take on receiver’s on Browner’s side but Browner would have no part of it.
    Typical foolish pride by a stupid player.
    Now Sherman doesn’t have to deal with that.

    Did the team really lose Browner and add Maxwell?

    Absolutely! If a player is sitting on the bench he is not gaining experience. Now that Browner is history Maxwell can get that valuable game experience that is essential to a players development.

    “We never had Harvin (realistically)”
    Lol. Lets just see how this all plays out before you claim to be the TNT official fortune teller.

  29. @ chuck_easton, I’m wondering the same thing about where you got your info? I’m not saying you are incorrect but I thought I read where Carroll said they weren’t notified of Browner’s stage 3 status, or any status for that matter, until well after they signed him?

    Mike Florio wrote an article on 12/1 for PFT saying:
    In this specific case, Browner somehow slipped through the NFL’s cracks, joining the Seahawks despite being on suspended status. When the NFL realized its error, the league decided to park Browner in Stage Three and move ahead.

    If this was the case, that the NFL didn’t notify anyone until well after Browner and the Seahawks reached a contract agreement that was approved by the league, then maybe he does have some sort of case?

    You state that he should have appealed it the moment he found out he was in stage 3, do you know he wasn’t/didn’t try? BTW, I agree with you on that point.

    One hole I have in Browner’s story about not knowing he still needed to test was the “letters sent to his ex-girlfriend” excuse. I’m assuming Browner has an agent. Someone had to work out the CFL contract for him. Shouldn’t the league have sent a copy of said testing notices to the agent as well?

    I’m not sticking up for Browner, I just find this whole situation interesting. Honestly, I find pot heads pretty annoying with the way they wear smoking pot as a weird badge of honor or something. I don’t care that people smoke it, hell legalize everything and let nature sort it out, but hearing an adult giggle and yell “420, you know what that means” gets old.

    Almost as bad as reading the perfect people preach and look down their nose at people not as perfect as them. (that isn’t directed at you, rather the other people carrying on the holier than thou attitude).

  30. Browners replacement, and the guy who replaced that guy, are just as good as Browner. The Hawks will be fine.

    The whole thing about Browner missing NFL drug tests while he was not in the NFL seems odd. But somebody should have known about it. Browner or his agent or the Seahawks should have known that the NFL requires former players playing in the CFL to continue testing. Since they apparently do.

    And finally, the story of Captain John Paul Jones and his famous victory is a great one. During the battle he was asked if he wanted to surrender, and after delivering his famous quote, he rallied his men to take the British ship. A good thing, since his ship ended up sinking soon after the British surrendered.

    Browner’s agent should have modified the famous battle cry to “I have not yet begun to fight, for my 10% of his next contract!”

  31. Georgia, I respect and appreciate all of your comments, but I think you’re wrong when you dismiss Browner as “stupid.” I get your anger, but I for one still feel a strong sense of loyalty to Brandon Browner. On this team he may be replaceable, but he played his ass off for the team and single-handedly turned around a number of games, e.g. Seattle at Carolina last year. If, as Chuck says, he knew he was in stage three when he originally signed with the Hawks, then the league was wrong to put him in stage three when he originally signed, because he’d been out of the league for four years. Net: those of us who feel that BB has been a significant part of this team’s growth will continue to defend him, whether or not it seems rational to others. He’s our guy.

    Go Hawks!

  32. bird_spit says:

    rbuzby – Awesome how you brought Capt JP Jones into the mix. I had almost forgotten that story, as the only John Paul Jones I could think of was the one with the piano.

    Browner will be fine, Seahawks will be fine. Any outsider, all of us included, has to be amazed that the hawks can lose a pro-bowl level CB and still field one of the best, if not the best, secondaries in the league in this decade.

    It is a real tribute to an ex-secondary coach and hawks head coach Pete Carrol. BK’s Mr happy is making me pretty damn happy these days.

  33. HeinieHunter says:

    Not a smart decision by Browner, to smoke weed when you put your career and the teams future in possible jeopardy. The NFL needs to rethink its current policies as per pot, alcohol, and guns then decide harshness of penalties. Smoking a joint seems small potatoes compared to being drunk with a Glock in your pocket.

  34. RDPoulsbo says:

    I certainly will not defend him. There’s to many holes in his story. For one, even if he somehow missed ask the letters notifying him that he was in stage 3, the 10 tests a month should have clued him in. Another would be his previous experience less than a year ago with the adderall. It should have been crystal clear and fresh in his mind that putting named substances in his body put his career at risk.

    What he does now with his threatened lawsuit are beside the point in my mind. He can argue exploiting loopholes all he wants and maybe he even wins. As a Seahawk fan, I see it as tarnishing the team for something he knew was wrong.

  35. If you treat Browner as an injured player (which I believe he still is) and apply next man up, you move on.

  36. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I agree that Browner played his ass off, however we are playing for bigger things than one or two games.
    If players like Browner, Hill, Thurmond, etc.. can’t see the big picture like Wilson, Thomas, Sherman, etc.. then I have no choice but to cry “next man up!”.

    I’m just happy that the next man up is better.

  37. chuck_easton says:

    Heres a previous article confirming my information. Specifically about browner using the broken cup defense.

  38. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I have to admit Browner gave us a few good highlight’s-

  39. bird_spit

    Browner’s agent was the one who started the John Paul Jones thing.

    Browner was looking to sign a big contract with somebody next year, so his agent is going to fight hard to make sure that may still happen instead of a suspension.

  40. raymaines says:

    I’m a total union kind of guy and dislike and distrust management at every level and in every circumstance. That said, I really hope BB sues the pants off of the NFL and wins going away.

  41. Nice post, Georgia. I’d forgotten about that. Here’s the one I remember sorry about the ad.)

  42. EzraMelech says:


    Thanks for the article pointing to your source. I was curious as well, however one thing from the article that you linked I find “puzzling” if not completely curious. (“….However, the source said Browner’s request to have the collector testify as part of the appeal hearings was denied, with the league’s medical director stating he spoke to the collector, who disputed Browner’s account.”)

    I find it curious that Browner would REQUEST himself that the collector come to the appeal hearing. Yet League decides no and and supposedly spoke with collector who disputed browners account? If its true that collector denied browners account, why not let him come to the appeal hearing and testify himself. (something to ponder at least)

    Btw.. I’m not defending Browner, Even if I believe his story, I’m a person who believes in personal responsibility. EVEN IF he believed he shouldn’t have been in stage 2 or 3. Why go smoke something you know is banned by NFL (which I think is rediculous, but is neither here nor there) just because if your stage one you get off with a warning??

    NO DON’T DO IT PERIOD, that’s my stance at least. I regress though, I find that above curious and believe it may give browner grounds to fight this with a lawsuit.


  43. This has an ad and some of the ones already posted, plus some to my mind distasteful language in the song, but it still shows some of the other good stuff about BB. Hard hitter. Fighter.

    However, I will end my lamentations.

  44. m2mnelson says:

    Is this really that big of a deal with how Byron Maxwell is playing? All I have seen is more INT’s and less penalties since Browner went down.

  45. he has one hell of a lawsuit. How can an employer hold you accountable for not drug testing when you work for someone else?

  46. raymaines says:

    Yes! At least in my mind it is that big of a deal! Is the NFL running roughshod over the players? It doesn’t matter if the Seahawks actually need BB or not.

    I get the idea of a performance based league and how players that don’t play within the rules get demoted or punished, but that doesn’t give the NFL the privilege of making up silly or inappropriate rules and randomly enforcing said rules with the effect of curtailing a players career.

    Can your imagine if your company, and all of the companies that compete with your company, decided that anybody that ever wore white socks would be fined 5% of their annual income on the very first occurrence and be blacklisted forever after that?

    And I’m thinking of Ndamukong Suh and Darnell Dockett here, how about if you could lye, cheat and steal at work but couldn’t wear white socks? Would you feel that the system was somehow stacked against you? I would.

  47. Great links Snappa…BB when healthy can really ball.

    6’4″ and blazing straight line speed is unique any way you cut it. Maxwell played well this weekend, but I believe it’s the system that really makes these guys. And when you’re as huge and fast as BB is, it actually makes a big difference.

    Again, Maxwell did play well this weekend, not so much in SF. Also, Eli has 25 picks and I’d contend that a lot of those this weekend were under thrown.

    When BB becomes eligible again, I think we should give him a shot. This whole things has cost him tons of dough, so by then, whenever then is, he might come cheap and I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss him.

    It is still all about competition.

  48. tealskin says:

    I think Browner’s case is weakened by the fact he’s in a union and that entity negotiated the terms that all players must live under. BB knew he was on thin ice after the PED bust. Time for Seahawks to clean up the image and cut loose those players that continue to screw up. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Thurmond gone as well. (Unless he does a total makeover).

  49. Georgia, You started with 3 or 4 posts condemning Browner and finished with a couple showing highlights of him.. Are you softening your stance on losing a Pro Bowl DB? It is a good thing we have Maxwell & Lane. Unless of course they get hurt like Hamlin & Manual back in 2005.

  50. Georgia, I love your contributions to this blog, but I find it ironic for someone that talks about drinking all the time to condemn BB for smoking weed. I do think he should’ve refrained under the circumstances. Reportedly his level was really low. Was he just in the around a “bad” situation?

    Regardless, their whole recreational drug testing policy is a joke. And don’t claim that it’s a private business. Try that crap when you pay for your own stadiums. Don’t whine for a public handout and then claim autonomy. This goes along with their nonsensical status as a non-profit I guess.

    BB should not have been expected to be available for testing while both out of the league and in another country.

  51. GeorgiaHawk says:

    bbmate- I Wasn’t trying to condemn Browner for smoking weed. It’s all about breaking the rules no matter how silly those rules could be.

    I personally have no problem with weed. I don’t feel it enhances ones performance and it certainly doesn’t come close to the harm that Alcohol has done to society.

    Browner may have a good case in court against the NFL and I hope he succeeds, however I think it’s stupid to take a risk that could hurt the team and their chances of winning it all this season, and it is especially stupid to take a risk on jeopardizing your own financial future in the NFL.
    I’m certainly no saint when it comes to doing stupid things but you won’t see me making it possibly more difficult for our favorite team to win.
    Now Browner can be just like me, a stupid fan rooting for his favorite team to win the Super Bowl.

  52. GeorgiaHawk says:

    mocarob- I always like the way Browner played. I don’t like the drama though that he has created for this team. We don’t need any of that and especially now that our defense is playing perhaps better without Browner in there.
    I think with the emergence of Maxwell and Lane, and the expanded leadership of Thomas and Sherman we will be more than fine without Browner moving forward.

  53. “Browner may have a good case in court against the NFL and I hope he succeeds, however I think it’s stupid to take a risk that could hurt the team and their chances of winning it all this season, and it is especially stupid to take a risk on jeopardizing your own financial future in the NFL.
    I’m certainly no saint when it comes to doing stupid things but you won’t see me making it possibly more difficult for our favorite team to win.
    Now Browner can be just like me, a stupid fan rooting for his favorite team to win the Super Bowl.”

    Georgia, I can’t argue with any of that. In fact, that’s pretty much what I think, and I thought I may overstated my case when I addressed you. Cheers.

  54. Macabrevity says:

    This is total BS for BB. I’m probably in the minority in thinking our D seems to be a little better with the replacements in, judgement call I guess, but regardless of that, BB got royally hosed, nonetheless the wheels of bureaucracy just grind away mindlessly, much like the guy at the head of that wheel. I hope he gets some sort of justice in this case, because it is effin’ ridiculous.

  55. chuck_easton says:

    How is this BS for Browner? He FAILED a drug test for banned substances. The CBA includes a detailed list of all banned substances. The CBA has a program in place that defines ‘STAGES’ a player will be put into and the causes for being in each stage.

    The NFL had Browner in Stage 3. Shortly after Browner signed with the Seahawks in 2010 the team and Browner were informed that he was in Stage 3. Browner didn’t fight being in Stage 3 at any time during his three years with the team. He simply complied with the more onerous testing schedule.

    While in Stage 3 Browner failed a drug test that showed he was using one of the banned substances on the well defined list.

    The terms of the Substance Abuse Program as outlined in the CBA and as made known to every player and every team are clear. Fail a test while in Stage 3 automatic ‘indefinite suspension with the ability to apply for re-instatement after 1 year’, or 1 year suspension as it commonly gets reported to the media.

    Where is the BS? Should Browner have been in Stage 3? Who knows? The NFL can’t disclose which players are in the program let alone how they got in, which Stage they are currently in, or such. The only time the public even learns that a player is in the substances program is when they have failed enough tests to have moved into Stage 2 (four game suspension) and/or Stage 3 1 year ban.

    So again, Browner failed a drug test. Browner’s appeal was that he shouldn’t have been in Stage 3. Browner has known he was in Stage 3 for the past 3 seasons. It was only after he failed a drug screening that he made the argument that he shouldn’t be in Stage 3.

    In legal terms Browner’s knowing he was in Stage 3 for several years and never raising an argument that he shouldn’t be in the program is tacit acceptance of the designation. The time for Browner to challenge his entry into Stage 3 was back in 2010, not three years later when he failed the drug test.

    Look at it from the common legal term of ‘statute of limitations’. Each jurisdiction and area of law has variations, but in Canada for civil matters (and this is a civil, not criminal, matter) a person has two years from the day they knew or ought to have known they had a claim to make that claim known. If after two years they have done nothing they lose the right to come back later and say they should be able to bring a claim.

    Browner has known for three years that he was in Stage 3. He can’t now rely on the fact he shouldn’t be in Stage 3 as a defense against the well defined Stage 3 punishment.

  56. I’m not defending Browner’s actions, although I have no problem with people smoking weed. Definitely not a smart thing to do, even though we all make mistakes. He still knew he was putting his career at risk by partaking, Stage 3 or not, so he should be accountable.

    That said, he remains one of my favorite Seahawks of all time.
    I know Sherm called him his best friend on a video recently, and he, Earl and Kam will probably miss him greatly.
    Georgia and Snappa, love those BB highlight links. Big props to both of you for posting those. The sweat equity he has in the Seahawks will endure, I for one won’t soon forget how vicious and fearless he was.
    I can’t help it, I just thought he was super cool and he embodied the spirit of the L.O.B. and in turn PC’s tenacious D.

    He has a great sense of humor, his tough machismo filled locker room talk frequently had me rolling on the floor, especially him playing “Deebo” to Winston ‘Predator’ Guy’s “Red” .
    From his knockout of Welker last year to his unprovoked mauling of Greg Jennings on MNF, to the time he wiped out 3 cardinals on special teams, his play on defense was visceral and cathartic like few others I have watched maybe with the exception of Kam Chancellor.

    For too many years, we in South Alaska were considered “soft”, a finesse team at best. When PC came in and drafted Thomas and Chancellor, traded for Lynch, drafted Sherman, and then brought in Browner, the LOB was formed and the identity of our team changed gradually but dramatically. It has evolved dynamically through the 4 years of PC’s tenure into the nasty, physical team we know and love currently.

    I think BB was the heart and soul of that underdog, scrappy, no-nonsense bully mentality, and I for one enjoyed watching him play tremendously for the past 3 seasons.

    Thanks BB, for all you’ve done for our Hawks, the blood, sweat, and tears you shed for the blue and green. I would welcome you back to the team in the future with open arms emotionally, if I’m thinking with my heart. But realistically, if I was being completely logical, it would only be on the condition of John Schneider giving you an incentive-laden, behavior-clause filled contract like the one honey badger signed. Business is business playa.

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0