FOX Sports Exclusive
Seahawks' Browner nixes offer to shorten ban, will continue appeal
A nearly three-month reduction from what's supposed to be a one-year ban for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy was not a sweet enough deal for Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, who recently turned down the offer and will continue his appeal, sources told FOX Sports.
The sources said the NFL offered Browner the chance to accept his suspension now, sit out the rest of this season, remain suspended through the offseason and be eligible for reinstatement at the start of next October, when the 2014 regular season is still in its first few weeks. That would have allowed Browner to return to action well before December, which is how long he'll sit out if he loses his appeal in the coming weeks.
But the 29-year-old Browner is set to be a free agent this offseason and realizes his market value will be greatly damaged if he's suspended when the market opens in March. By the time October rolls around, there likely will be no starting jobs available and no lucrative multi-year offers like the ones usually thrown around in the first days of free agency.
One of the sources informed of Browner's turning down the league's offer also provided some insight on his appeal. In addition to arguing he shouldn't have been advanced to stage three of the NFL's substance-abuse policy because he wasn't notified of the requirements to continue drug testing while he was in the Canadian Football League (2007-10), Browner also is disputing the procedures of the test he failed this September.
Browner is claiming the urine collector used a damaged cup and then poured his urine from that cup into another one. However, the source said Browner's request to have the collector testify as part of the appeal hearings was denied, with the league's medical director stating he spoke to the collector, who disputed Browner's account.
The NFL and NFL Players Association declined comment when asked about the proposal for a reduced suspension and Browner's claim the collection process was compromised.
Browner is awaiting the arbitrator's decision, which could linger for a few more weeks. Browner is making his way back from a groin injury he suffered last month. He returned to practice Wednesday but sat out the next two days and has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers.
With Browner out of action and fellow cornerback Walter Thurmond currently serving a four-game suspension for a substance-abuse violation, Byron Maxwell started, and played well, opposite Richard Sherman against the New Orleans Saints on Monday.