Joe Haden Suspension: Browns CB Issued 4-Game Ban for Violating NFL Drug Policy

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2012

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 03:  Joe Haden #23 of the Cleveland Browns attends a press conference where Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions was awarded Pepsi's 2010 NFL Rookie of the Year Award at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 3, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns already have enough problems this season, so losing star cornerback Joe Haden to a four-game suspension after a failed drug test makes this year's outlook even worse. 

On Monday, the Browns officially announced the NFL's decision (via NFL.com):

The NFL announced Monday that Browns cornerback Joe Haden has been suspended four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.

He is eligible to return on Oct. 8, a day after the Browns' game with the New York Giants.

This suspension has been brewing for a few weeks, when Will Burge and Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland reported that Haden had tested positive for Adderall, "which is commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy, is also used for excessive tiredness."

Burge and Grossi's report also stated that the first positive test automatically triggered a second test of that original sample. If the second test comes back positive, the league automatically issues a suspension. 

The NFL didn't like what it saw, so Haden will have to sit out four games of the season as a result. 

In the Browns' Week 1 loss to the Eagles, Haden finished with six tackles and a pass deflection.  

This is a huge blow to the Browns, who were not expected to do much in the AFC North anyway. They do have a good, young defense, led by Haden. He had six interceptions in his rookie season of 2010.

When teams realized how good Haden was last year, they didn't throw the ball in his direction, so he wasn't able to make any interceptions. He still deflected 19 passes in 2011, and the Browns finished second in the NFL in pass yards allowed per game. 

His absence will put more pressure on the young offensive talent the Browns brought in through the draft, specifically quarterback Brandon Weeden.