By Brady Henderson
Brandon Browner’s appeal of what is reportedly a year-long suspension could end up having no bearing on the Seahawks’ season considering the cornerback is dealing with a groin injury that may land him on injured reserve.
It’s certainly important for Browner, though, and according to John Clayton there’s reason for hope.
“Don’t discount the chance of him winning this case. He could win this case,” Clayton said during “Cold Hard Facts” Wednesday afternoon on 710 ESPN Seattle.
Browner reportedly had his hearing Wednesday to appeal the suspension, which stems from an alleged violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. According to Clayton, Browner isn’t challenging his latest failed test but rather where he stood in the league’s substance-abuse program, which could be an important distinction based on how the punishments vary depending on the phase of the program a player is in.
According to Clayton, Browner was in the substance-abuse program when he was a rookie with the Broncos back in 2005, and when he failed to show up for drug testing after he was released that season, it counted against him. Browner’s argument, according to Clayton, is that he was not aware and/or was never notified that he was still required to take drug tests while he was unsigned and technically not an NFL employee.
“He’s just out of college, he doesn’t have a cell phone, he’s collecting unemployment, there’s no way to get a hold of him,” Clayton said, “and the league is contacting him and saying, ‘OK, you’ve got to test.’ Well, can they show proper proof that they did try to contact him?”
Clayton characterized Browner’s chances of winning his appeal as unlikely, noting that the league would have to overturn a suspension it handed down. He also noted, though, that fellow Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman surprisingly won his appeal of a four-game suspension last season.
“This thing is not over,” Clayton said.