Browner landed in Stage Three while out of the league


So why is Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner facing a one-year suspension under the substance-abuse policy?

As we surmised earlier in the week, the league advanced Browner to Stage Three of the substance-abuse program based on drug tests the league tried to impose during the five years that Browner wasn’t employed by any NFL teams.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has the details.  The problem arose because the letters sent by the league regarding drug tests and ensuing discipline to Browner went to the residence of Browner’s former girlfriend.

Per La Canfora, Browner had been tested roughly 200 times since returning to the league, and he recently had a positive test for marijuana.  His status in Stage Three triggered a permanent banishment with the ability to apply for reinstatement after one year.

Browner’s appeal hearing concluded earlier this week, with a decision required “[w]ithin a reasonable time,” whatever that means.  The possibility of litigation arising from the league’s imposition of discipline on a non-NFL player coupled with the recent defamation of Browner (and confidentiality breach) committed by the network the league owns gives him plenty of leverage to work out a resolution that would entail something like, for example, a suspension for the rest of the current regular season.

Given that Browner currently has a groin injury that is expected to sideline him for another month, he’d lose money but not playing time.  And he’d have the issue behind him as the playoffs approach in January — and as free agency approaches in March.

21 responses to “Browner landed in Stage Three while out of the league

  1. Why is the league allowed to drug test people that are not on an active roster for 5 years? And if they don’t respond to the league they are penalized?

  2. I understand the angst with that process but the time for protesting the status was when he was informed after returning to the league. He knew what his status was and he knew what the consequences would be if he chose to violate the policy. He was aware that there would be more tests due to his status in the program. He made a conscious decision to smoke weed (or whatever it was) and is now complaining about the process. If he would have behaved responsibly at any time during his career, he would not be in this predicament. No pity. Individual responsibility should be paramount. Let’s stop making excuses for guys that couldn’t care less until they are caught again.

  3. Implementation of league discipline has become a real joke and it seems the chickenhawks have discovered a whole list of loopholes. In criminal court, they are only required to use 1st class mail to your last listed address and it is the individual’s responsibility to make sure current address is on file. The NFL is getting as crazy as the NCAA when it comes to enforcing it’s own rules.

  4. Browner gave his former girlfriend’s address to the league. The league sent his notifications to that address.

    Playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right.

    He, and only he, is responsible for his current predicament.

    We don’t need any more legal nonsense to try and circumvent the system

  5. I think he has a point. How can the league impose a sanction when he is not in the league? For 5 years? And the confidentiality issue is a big one. That is HIPPA. Still he should not have used, period. So perhaps a deal can be struck and we get him back for playoffs?

  6. As an extremely rabid Seahawk fan I am disgusted that he was so irresponsible.
    As an extremely rabid Seahawk fan I take issue with many of the haters. The league has his former girlfriend’s address because it was HIS former address – they didn’t have it as a way for him to avoid them. The violation of HIPPA is alarming and needs to be dealt with aggressively – the league seems to have no qualms about violating it for its own purposes. It is a federal law and therefore the feds should be dealing with this.
    While in no way excusing his testing positive, I do want to point out that contrary to all of the accusations of being a cheating PED using, doped up player, he tested positive once out of 200 times. Stupid and selfish yes. Proof of constant use – NO.
    I do think he is getting a raw deal however, I am on the fence on whether I want to see him in a Seahawk uniform again. He is a distraction and has shown poor judgment.
    Since 49ers fans seem to be the biggest/loudest/most annoying/rude critics of Browner and the Seahawks this one is for you: do not cast stones or comments about this situation after all, your team had Aldon Smith play days after his drunk driving, drug addled crash with felony gun charges pending. AND welcomed him back with open arms after treatment with said charges still pending because he is a pivotal member of the defense.

  7. Ridiculous that he landed in that stage. The missed letters are legit but somewhat flimsy.

    However the fact that he was never a roster player with the Broncos, and the implications that seems to have in so far as he shouldn’t have even expected to be tested while out of the league for so long, holds much more weight.

    And tested 200 times, in 27 months in the league? Is that for everyone in that stage? Seems inefficient and costly

  8. Take them to court, how many of you out there still have to pass drug tests for your previous job when you are currently at your new job. The current league policy is that 1st time caught you get put on watch list, 2nd time 4 game 3rd time 8 game any more year+. The only reason Browner was past his first time is because of a terrible rule in the new CBA, Browner was stupid to do drugs in the first place but he has a legit case to take to court.

  9. ultrawolf123 says:
    Dec 1, 2013 2:08 PM
    The only reason Browner was past his first time is because of a terrible rule in the new CBA, Browner was stupid to do drugs in the first place but he has a legit case to take to court.
    He chose to be represented by the NFLPA. The NFLPA negotiated those terms and their members are bound by them. If he objected to his status then he should have said so when he got back into the league. He didn’t. He accepted his status in phase 3 and underwent tests consistent for that phase. He got busted again and now wants to complain about that (or, more accurately–the bleeding hearts feel sorry from another victim of his own mistakes)

  10. He’s a free agent this coming season anyways, he was done in Seattle either way. They are gonna have to pay A lot of young players in Seattle soon, and Browner wasn’t gonna be one of them.

  11. This is absolutely unbelievable. He was cut by Denver which is the equivalent of being fired to the rest of us. How can your employer take your income, benefits & everything your job provides away from you & then expect you to adhere to the requirements that qualified you to receive those benefits in the 1st place? This isn’t about Browner IMO. This is about corporate America trying to exercise control over their serfs. This is dangerous & I hope he does challenge the policy & is successful. I believe there needs to be a precedent so this can’t happen to anyone, anywhere in America.

  12. there is absolutely no way i would tolerate a former employer continuing to drug test me. the contents of my urine do not determine the contents of my character. Browner should sue so hard, and not just for the NFL, for the federal law violation that protects all of us

  13. He’s a moron for getting caught, knowing he was under the microscope. But than again, that’s the Seahawk way.

  14. It is a complete joke the NFL requires urinalysis of a player who has been out of the league 5 years. Is the league liable for damages? Just look at how many people are calling Browner, Carroll, and the Seahawks as a whole, cheaters. The NFLN knew exactly what they were doing by reporting that erroneous story, just as they rushed to judgement last year about Sherman. They were forced to eat their crow last year, and IMO they will be doing the same this year. Browner will be back for the playoffs.

  15. Absurd that they expect him to drug test when he isn’t employed by a team, i don’t care what the NFLPA negotiated.

    “Hawks need to get him into rehab and make him a clean and productive player again.

  16. I don’t care how long he was tested before or anything else. He was suspended last year for PED use, and then reinstated. Now he turns around, and shows disrespect to his coach, his team mates and the fans by smoking pot, which he KNOWS is a banned substance.

    I am a Seahawks fan, but for my money, when the season is up, (and his contract is as well) turn him lose. In my eyes he has shown no respect for anyone else. He screwed up once and was accepted back. But twice? Nope…screw me once shame on you…screw me twice and shame on me (or Screw You!)

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