Joe Haden Reportedly Facing 4-Game Suspension for Failed Drug Test

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 24:  Joe Haden #23 of the Cleveland Browns reacts on the field during the closing moments of the Browns 2014 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden is facing a four-game suspension due to a failed drug test, according to Will Burge and Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. They state the case is being reviewed by the NFL.

UPDATE: Wednesday, August 22 at 10:57 a.m. EST

It turns out that Haden was removed from practice today due to unnecessary roughness against a teammate. ESPNCleveland.com's Tony Grossi has the latest:

Joe Haden had been warned about not tackling and had words w/Shumur after tackle of Teavis Benjamin. #undersress

— Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) August 22, 2012

---END of UPDATE---

UPDATE: Wednesday, August 22 at 10:47 a.m. EST

As more information is being released, it is now not believe that Haden was removed from practice due to any potential suspension, according to Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot.

#browns cb Joe haden sent off field early after issue w/ Shurmur. Not related to his possible suspension. Joe didn't look happy on way in.

— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 22, 2012

Cabot went on to report that the Browns have yet to hear about a potential suspension.

#browns hc Shurmur said team hasn't heard anything yet about possible suspension for haden. Couldn't talk about it if he knew.

— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 22, 2012

---END of UPDATE---

UPDATE: Wednesday, August 22 at 10:09 a.m. EST

Many are speculating that Browns CB Joe Haden has received news of his potential suspension. ESPNCleveland.com's Tony Grossi brings us the latest ouf Browns camp:

Joe Haden walked off field alone and removed his pads before he entered bldg. A few minutes laterMike Holmgren followed him in. #Browns

— Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) August 22, 2012

---END of UPDATE---

The initial report indicates the third-year defender tested positive for Adderall, which is one of the substances the league has placed on its banned list. If a second test delivers the same result, he will be subject to a suspension covering the first quarter of the season.

Losing Haden would be a massive blow to the Browns defensive backfield. The team drafted him with the seventh overall pick in 2010 and has watched him to develop into a key defensive piece.

He has totaled 65 tackles in each of his first two seasons to go along with 37 passes defended and six interceptions. The Florida product has done all that while usually covering the opponent's top target.

Haden has no track record of off-field problems, but that's unlikely to help him in this situation. The NFL has put a strict policy in place with hopes of avoiding a wide-ranging problem similar to what other leagues have faced.

While the Browns corner does have the right to an appeal, he would have to make a convincing argument to have any chance of getting the decision overturned assuming the second test matches the first.

Cleveland's defense has been the team's strong suit in recent years and team expectations were on the rise given the offseason additions on offense.

A Haden suspension would put a damper on that excitement. The Browns open the season against Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, a team capable of throwing the ball all over the place, which would make his absence felt immediately.

Veteran Sheldon Brown would be forced to take on a much larger role if Haden is forced to miss games, but the depth chart behind him features several inexperienced players. It's not likely Cleveland would be ready to fill the void.

Nothing is official until the NFL makes an announcement, but it doesn't sound good for the Browns star at this point.