By John Boyle
Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner will begin serving a four-game suspension this week for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
It was reported last week that both Browner and cornerback Richard Sherman were facing suspensions, but both elected to appeal, meaning they were able to play against Chicago.
With Browner dropping his appeal, he will miss the final four games of the regular season, then be eligible to return for the postseason should Seattle make the playoffs.
Sherman’s appeal is scheduled to be heard Dec. 14.
The Seahawks added a pair of cornerbacks to fill out their roster — they had one open roster spot following some moves Tuesday — adding cornerback DeShawn Shead off of their practice squad and cornerback Ron Parker, who had previously spent time with Seattle, from Carolina’s practice squad.
Pete Carroll said in his press conference that Walter Thurmond will step into the starting lineup for Browner. Thurmond, who made his 2012 season debut against Chicago last week as Seattle’s nickel cornerback, briefly started last season after Marcus Trufant landed on injured reserve, but Thurmond started only three games before suffering a broken leg that cost him the rest of that season and much of this one.
And while the Seahawks will certainly miss Browner, it’s worth remembering that the coaching staff thought highly enough of Thurmond to have him ahead of Sherman on the depth chart last season. If healthy—and with Thurmond, that’s always a big if—Thurmond has the potential to be a very good cornerback for Seattle.
With Trufant still battling a hamstring injury and unlikely to play, Thurmond moving to the outside leaves a vacancy at cornerback when Seattle puts a third corner on the field in passing situations. Carroll said rookie Jeremy Lane is the likely candidate to come in in those situations, though it is possible the Seahawks could tinker with using Thurmond inside as the nickel in those situations with Lane or someone else playing as the outside corner opposite Sherman.