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Brandon Browner to begin 4-game suspension

By Brady Henderson

Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner will miss the remainder of the regular season as he begins his four-game suspension this week for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

According to a statement from an NFL spokesman, Browner is suspended without pay and will be eligible to return to the Seahawks’ active roster on Dec. 31, which is a day after their final regular-season game. He can participate in playoff games should Seattle qualify. If not, he will be eligible to play at the beginning of next season.

The Seahawks will be without cornerback Brandon Browner for the remainder of the regular season as he serves a four-game suspension beginning this week. (AP)

“I’m still not commenting about it, but I’m disappointed that we lose anybody, whether it’s by injury or whatever. These guys work so hard to be here and all of that and you come to rely on guys and all, and so when you lose guys it’s always disappointing,” coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday.

“But really the focus goes for us right to the guys that are stepping up.”

Cornerback Walter Thurmond will start in place of Browner. Rookie Jeremy Lane will move to the nickel spot as Marcus Trufant is still dealing with a hamstring injury that makes his status uncertain. Byron Maxwell is also an option at nickel.

Thurmond made his 2012 debut against Chicago on Sunday, playing for the first time since he was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list in early November.

“I’ve thought all along that we’re very fortunate to have Walter with some background that started for us in the past,” Carroll said. “He’s an excellent athlete. He played very well this past week.”

The Seahawks also made roster moves to improve their depth at cornerback, signing Ron Parker off the Panthers’ practice squad and promoting cornerback DeShawn Shead from their own practice squad. Both were undrafted rookie free agents who had signed with the Seahawks, Parker in 2011 and Shead this past April. Shead will serve as the Seahawks’ fourth cornerback, Carroll said.

News broke after the Seahawks’ Week 12 loss to Miami that Browner and fellow Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman were facing four-game suspensions. Later reports suggested they had tested positive for the prescription drug Adderall.

Browner has dropped his appeal of the suspension. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Sherman’s appeal hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14, which makes him eligible to play Sunday against Arizona and potentially the following week against Buffalo.

Browner and Sherman have become perhaps the NFL’s best cornerback tandem. Browner, 28, made the Pro Bowl as an injury alternate last season after collecting a team-high six interceptions and returning two for touchdowns. His suspension means he will not be eligible for the Pro Bowl this season.

Note: The Seahawks also signed running back Derrick Coleman to their practice squad.