There’s yet another strange wrinkle to one of the strangest NFL stories of the year.
Per a league source, when Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner signed with the team in 2011, he had been suspended indefinitely and not reinstated by the NFL.
The suspension, triggered by a failure to show up for a drug test after being sent to Stage Three of the program while unemployed by the NFL, remained in effect as of 2011. Under the substance-abuse policy, a violation while Browner was in Stage Three (also due to failing to show up for drug tests while unemployed) resulted in a banishment with the ability to reapply after one calendar year.
In this specific case, Browner somehow slipped through the NFL’s cracks, joining the Seahawks despite being on suspended status. When the NFL realized its error, the league decided to park Browner in Stage Three and move ahead.
Browner currently faces a suspension of one year, at a minimum, due to a violation of the substance-abuse policy while in Stage Three. Once a player advances to Stage Three, he remains there for the rest of his career.
In a hearing completed last week, Browner argued that he should not be responsible for drug tests the NFL attempted to conduct while he was not employed by an NFL team. Litigation remains possible, if his appeal fails.