There has been a ton of talk this week about the possible suspensions of cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, who according to multiple reports face four-game suspensions for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing substances. However, with both players set to play this week and beyond while the appeals process plays out, it is business as usual for the Seahawks.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has talked to both Sherman and Browner to make sure they're in the right place mentally despite a potentially huge distraction. As for the rest of his team, Carroll said this week's news "is not an issue in our locker room. We're playing football."
Sherman, who immediately proclaimed his innocence on Twitter when the reports first surfaced Sunday night, said this week won't be any different for him and Browner than any other game week.
"Nothing different," he said. "It's not tough at all. This is the same old routine for us. Regardless of what's going on, you just go out there and play football. That's the good thing about the game. You can just go out there and play, you ain't got to worry about nothing.
"And there's nothing to worry about in the first place."
Sherman didn't get into details about his failed drug test or pending appeal, but did say he isn't letting this bother him.
"It doesn't affect me at all, because it happens like that in life," said Sherman, who leads the Seahawks with four interceptions. "There are always misunderstandings and mishaps, and all you can do is continue to go about your job the same way you've been going about it and let everything play itself out.
"The truth always comes out. You just go on. The process is going to play out how it's going to play out. When you know what you know, you just continue to be confident and continue to go out and play."
Browner did not speak with reporters, and later on Wednesday afternoon, the team issued the following statement from the two:
"To allow our focus to remain on football, during the appeal process we will refrain from any further public comments regarding this situation. Thank you for your consideration on this matter."
Fullback Michael Robinson, a special team's co-captain and leader in the locker room, said he isn't worried about his team getting off track this week because Sherman and Browner may or may not be suspended, nor is he concerned about how the cornerbacks will play Sunday.
"We've got a pretty resilient team," Robinson said. "Those guys are great players, Pro Bowl caliber players, and we expect them to handle themselves accordingly."
What is concerning to Robinson, however, is the bigger picture issues when it comes to drug testing. Robinson, the team's union representative, wishes the league did more to educate players about performance enhancing substances, particularly when it comes to prescription drugs that have other medicinal uses, such as Adderall, the stimulant that was reportedly the cause for Browner and Sherman's positive tests.
"'Your responsible for what goes in your body,' that's pretty much all they tell us," Robinson said. "You'd just like to see some things cleared up."
Robinson also expressed frustration that the failed test was leaked before the process played out. If a player is appealing a failed test, the league won't announce a suspension until after the appeal is heard. Because of that, there is no way to know how many players have tested positive, won an appeal and never had their names made public. In this case, however, Browner and Sherman have been outed before getting a chance to make their case.
"I feel like it puts the players in a compromised situation," Robinson said. "The people hearing the appeals watch TV, just like you and I, and perception is reality. If the media is driving a story that some players did something -- and it might not be true, who knows -- I think that affects the appeals process. It should be very, very confidential, nobody should know about it until all the facts are out."
Bryant, Hill don't practice
Defensive end Red Bryant and linebacker Leroy Hill were both held out of Wednesday's practice, and Carroll said he did not know if either would be available for Sunday's game in Chicago.
Bryant has been dealing with what Carroll called a "plantar fascia issue" for a while, but it has flared up in recent weeks. If Bryant is unable to play, starting defensive tackle Alan Branch would move out to Bryant's position with rookie Greg Scruggs filling in for Branch.
Hill injured his ankle in last weekend's loss to Miami, though he was able to return to the game. Malcolm Smith would be the starter if Hill were unable to play.
Safety Earl Thomas wrote on Twitter that he was fined $15,000 by the league, then later confirmed to reporters that the fine was for his hit on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. That hit, which drew a flag and negated a Bobby Wagner interception in the end zone, was a controversial and big play in the game, sustaining the Dolphins' drive that eventually ended with a touchdown.
"That's just the NFL," Thomas said. "That's all I've got to say about it."
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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