On Sunday, Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner will serve the first of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy regarding anabolic steroids and related substances. And there’s a now chance Browner will be back before fellow starter Richard Sherman’s suspension commences.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Sherman’s hearing, which has been set for December 14, could be delayed.
Sherman, per Schefter, has hired his own lawyer to work with NFLPA counsel in an effort to fight the suspension. The full-court press from the three-piece suits will likely delay the process.
The delay could cost Sherman some extra money. With a base salary of $465,000, Sherman would lose $27,352 per week for any games missed during the 2012 regular season. Sherman will lose only $20,000 if he misses a wild-card game — and only $22,000 if he misses the division round. But if Sherman’s suspension extends to 2013, when Sherman will each be earning $555,000 in base pay, the suspension will cost $32,647 per week.
The overriding problem for Sherman is that the current procedures for PED appeals make it very hard for any player to win. Although proof of irregularities in the testing process could exonerate Sherman, there’s no way (we’re told) to force the league to share any information that the league chooses not to share. As one source said in connection with Browner’s decision to bail on his appeal, these cases aren’t lost at the hearing stage but at the bargaining table. The message for the NFLPA? If/when the HGH testing issue is ever resolved, the union should insist on changes to the appeal mechanism that will ensure a fair shake for players whose urine samples result in a false positive or that are otherwise tainted by defects in the collection process.