The Seattle Seahawks secondary is facing a massive blow as both Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, the team’s two starting cornerbacks, will receive a four-game ban for using performance-enhancing drugs.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the news via Twitter and noted that both players claim to be innocent and will appeal the suspension:
Filed to ESPN: Seattle CBs Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner facing 4-game suspensions for violating performance enhancing drug policy.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 25, 2012
Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are appealing suspensions, insisting they are innocent. Appeal could be heard as early as this week.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 25, 2012
Browner and Sherman form one of the NFL’s best and most intimidating cornerback tandems. Sherman is 6’3” and 195 pounds, while Browner is 6’4” and 221 pounds.
Both are exceptionally tall for their position and are key contributors to a physical and effective Seattle secondary. The Seahawks have allowed the third-fewest yards per game through the air and have held opposing quarterbacks to the third-lowest average quarterback rating this season.
Browner and Sherman have both recorded excellent individual statistics as well.
Coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2011, Browner has three interceptions and two forced fumbles this year.
In his second year out of Stanford, Sherman has blossomed into an elite defensive playmaker and has four interceptions, three forced fumbles and 14 passes defended. But now, the legitimacy of these players' success has been called into question.
If the rulings are upheld, it would be a crippling blow to both players and their team. The Seahawks have been surprisingly successful this season, and at 6-5, they are still alive in the NFC playoff hunt despite losing 24-21 today to the Miami Dolphins.
But the Seattle offense has struggled this season and came into this week ranked 26th in yards per game and 24th in points per game. The team relies heavily on its defense to be successful.
If Browner and Sherman do not win their appeals, it will be a blemish on their careers, and the Seahawks’ ability to keep pace in the playoff race will be seriously in question.