by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - The Seattle Seahawks got a huge boost as they prepare to enter the postseason next week as CB Richard Sherman won his appeal of a four-game suspension for a violation of the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Sherman tweeted just after 9 a.m. that he had won his appeal and would not be suspended.
"Thank you @ To the 12s Thank you your faith is rewarded! Thank you lord." for upholding the truth!
"I won," he tweeted.
The full decision on the appeal by arbiter Robert E. Wallace Jr. was released later Thursday confirming that Sherman's appeal was upheld and that his suspension had been nullified.
"In this case, after weighing the differing testimonies of the only two people with first-hand knowledge, Mr. Sherman and Mr. (Mark) Cook (the tester), I do not believe the burden has been met that the departures, especially in the actual collection of the sample, did not materially affect the validity of the positive test."
"Accordingly, Mr. Sherman's appeal is granted and the discipline is reversed," Wallace Jr. wrote.
Sherman said he felt there were issues with the testing the day it occurred.
"It was a weird day, it was a weird testing procedure, and a lot of things went wrong on that day and that is why the results came out the way it did because he made a mistake and did things wrong," Sherman said. "If it wasn’t for that there wouldn’t have been a positive test, everything would have went normal, and there would have been no positive test."
Even so, he was still surprised to hear of the positive test.
"I was still surprised, but I knew that it had something to do with that," Sherman said.
The news was first leaked to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com over a month ago that Sherman and CB Brandon Browner were facing suspensions for testing positive for a banned substance. Pending suspensions are not supposed to be made public. League personnel are forbidden from talking about violations per the CBA and would face a substantial fine for doing so.
Yet with Browner and Sherman, someone leaked the news to Schefter, putting their cases in the public spotlight before they had a chance to go through the appeals process. Instead of appealing the positive test outside of the public eye, Sherman has had to deal with the stigma of testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs for over a month.
Sherman was asked Thursday if it was frustrating for him that it was made public before the process played out.
"Oh, that's going to be dealt with also," Sherman said.
Sherman had said on Wednesday he intended to sue the league if he was indeed suspended. It seems as though that may still be a possibility for Sherman despite the positive ruling.
Sherman said many people had told him to just serve the suspension in order to get back on the field sooner because his odds of winning the appeal were low.
"There was always people that said the chances are slim to none, I told them my chances have always been slim to none. And I've always found a way to win those. You don't make it this far without getting through some kind of adversity," Sherman said.
S Earl Thomas said it made his day better to know Sherman was going to be able to keep playing.
"I came in a little shaken up just because you don't know," Thomas said. "That's my brother back there and it definitely feels good for him to take this journey and be on this team with us."
"It just definitely feels good for the NFL, whoever made the decision, to make the right one because he's not on any steroids by any means."
Ultimately, Sherman is just happy the process is behind him and he can continue playing with him teammates into the playoffs.
"I’m just excited, just knowing for sure I’ll be able to go out and play with my teammates," Sherman said. "I think we have a great chance of making a pretty good run, and the way everybody is rolling right now, the way Russell Wilson is playing, our offense, Marshawn, and our defense is playing, I think we have a shot to go out there and play some good ball."
The full decision on Sherman's appeal is available here in PDF form View Document. Be forewarned that it goes into pretty meticulous detail about the testing procedure and the events that occurred in the testing room. You've received fair warning.
St. Louis Rams
S Craig Dahl (knee)
CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh)
RB Steven Jackson (illness)
LB James Laurinaitis (back)
WR Austin Pettis (shoulder)
C Scott Wells (knee)
Did Not Participate
LB Leroy Hill (hamstring)
WR Golden Tate (illness)
T Breno Giacomini (elbow)
CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)
DE Red Bryant (foot)
S Earl Thomas (ankle)
TE Anthony McCoy (back)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)
WR Sidney Rice (knee)