Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond will serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning. And to be clear, this is different from the performance enhancing drug policy that has led to the suspension of several other Seahawks in recent years.
According to Rapoport, Thurmond is currently in the appeals process, but will drop the appeal this week so he can serve the suspension before the postseason.
Thurmond has been Seattle’s nickel cornerback this season, and moved into a starting role with Brandon Browner sidelined by a groin injury (he also started the first two games with Browner out with a hamstring injury). This suspension, along with Browner’s continued absence—Pete Carroll said last week that it was at least a four-to-six-week injury—will test Seattle’s considerable depth at cornerback. Byron Maxwell stepped in for Browner last week at right cornerback when Thurmond slid into the nickel spot, though Jeremy Lane was also worked into the rotation. Thurmond’s suspension will open up a roster spot, so the Seahawks will likely add a defensive back, quite possibly DeShawn Shead, who is currently on their practice squad.
News of this suspension makes me wonder if this is in part why Carroll has been so vague on Browner’s injury over the past two weeks, and perhaps also if it’s why we saw Lane worked into the rotation last weekend.
This is the second time in as many years that Seattle’s secondary has taken a hit late in the season due to suspension, with Browner serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy.