According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Seattle Seahawks cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are facing four-game suspensions for violating the league’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs.
Schefter adds that both players claim to be innocent and have filed appeals, which could be heard as early as this week.
The 6-foot-4 Browner and the 6-foot-3 Sherman are the tallest pair of starting cornerbacks in the National Football League, with the Seahawks using that rare size on the edge to dominate opposing wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. Through 11 games in 2012, the Seahawks have 10 interceptions, with the duo of Sherman (four) and Browner (three) combining for 70 percent of the team’s total.
Both cornerbacks are in the second year of their contracts and are each earning $465,000 in base salary. If the suspensions are upheld, both players would forfeit $109,412 and be ineligible for postseason awards. Browner is coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2011 and Sherman’s performance this season has not only brought on talk about a trip to Hawaii, but possible first-team All-Pro honors for the 2011 fifth-round pick out of Stanford.
After falling to 6-5 with a 24-21 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the Seahawks will be fighting to stay alive in the NFC playoffs race for the remainder of the season. Losing two Pro Bowl-caliber cornerbacks in a stretch that features games against the Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers would hurt those chances as the Seahawks do not have much depth at the cornerback position. Nickel cornerback Marcus Trufant has started 125 games during his 10-year career in Seattle, but has battled back injuries in recent seasons and has struggled a bit while playing inside. The other three cornerbacks on the Seahawks’ 53-man roster — Walter Thurmond, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell — have not logged a single snap on defense this season.