by Curtis Crabtree
A day after reports surfaced that CB Brandon Browner and CB Richard Sherman were facing suspensions for violations of the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, the secondary tandem has denied they ever took any illegal substances.
Mike Garafolo of the USA Today has reported that the suspensions are for Adderall, a drug used to treat ADD. He reported on Monday night that according to a person with knowledge of the situation, Sherman is saying that he unknowingly ingested Adderall that was legally prescribed to a teammate.
According to his source, Sherman says he accidentally drank from a bottle that a teammate had poured a crushed up Adderall pill into. Adderall can be legally used by players as long as prescribed by a physician to treat a documented condition.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network has independently reported the same scenario as Garafolo.
In a series of texts exchanged with Sherman Monday night, Sherman denied the series of events reported by the USA Today and NFL Network.
"It's totally false," Sherman said. "It will be resolved in time and I have never taken anything."
Sherman has denied taking Adderall since the story was first reported on Sunday. Sherman spoke with Steve Wyche of the NFL Network late Sunday denying he's ever taken Adderall.
Browner hasn't spoken publicly on the matter but a group of reporters had a chance to talk with his agent, Peter Schaffer, Monday afternoon. Schaffer also denied the allegations against his client.
"I can tell you that Brandon Browner has no knowledge of how any illegal substance could have gotten into his system," Schaffer said. "…He takes tremendous care of his body and he is very careful with what he puts into it. We’re exploring all avenues to try and figure out how any substance out of the ordinary would be in his system."
Also per Garafolo, Browner is already in the league's substance-abuse program for an undisclosed violation while with the Denver Broncos in 2005. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com joined Mitch in the Morning on Monday and also spoke of Browner being tested more frequently because of his prior incident.
"(Browner)'s someone who’s tested regularly; up to three times a week," La Canfora said. "So he’s told people, 'look, I knew what I was up against. I don’t even drink a beer because I'm so wary of having a positive for anything.' So he’s been adamant that 'I'm not on anything. I've gone out of my way not to put any sort of substance, supplement, or anything other than what you would normally eat and drink.'"
Schaffer said the league first sent notification of the impending suspensions last week. Schaffer said that normally, hearings are held within 20 days of the notifications being sent but that can take longer due to other circumstances. He said he wasn't sure when the hearing for his client would take place.
"It's too early to tell what we’re going to need, what witnesses and evidence and experts are going to be required so there is no way to even guess at this point," Schaffer said.
Until the hearings come to their conclusion and a ruling is ultimately handed down, Sherman and Browner are allowed to continue to play. Any suspensions would include postseason games if the appeals drag out beyond next week. If Seattle doesn't make the playoffs, the suspensions would roll over to next season.
Head coach Pete Carroll said he expected to have both Browner and Sherman available to play Sunday against the Chicago Bears.