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November 26, 2013 at 9:53 PM

More on suspensions: Can Browner win an appeal?

While Pete Carroll made it clear today that the Seahawks are planning to move on without Brandon Browner, even announcing that DeShawn Shead will soon be put on the active roster, some theories have emerged tonight that could give Browner hope of lessening his suspension.

Pro Football Talk has this story detailing a theory of how Browner might have landed in the third stage of the NFL’s drug program, which is what put him at risk of a more severe penalty — that he did not show up for tests during the time he was playing in the CFL.

As the story notes, Browner was in the program at the time he was cut by the Broncos in 2006. He then played in the CFL and apparently did not show up for testing during those four years — 2007-10 — not realizing he had to.

That put him at risk of being a stage three offender, which is where apparently landed with his most recent failed test.

Chris Cluff of the Examiner has more on this theory as put forth today by ESPN’s John Clayton during a radio appearance.

To make clear, that wouldn’t absolve Browner of guilt from the most recent incident. But not having been in stage three already would have lessened his penalty to the standard four games and would make him more marketable after the season, when he becomes a free agent — and possibly mean he couldĀ  play for the Seahawks again this season if he recovers from his groin injury, though every indication has been that the team is moving on from Browner, both for this season and the future.

As we reported here earlier, Browner’s appeal has yet to be heard, contrary to reports elsewhere.

And it’s more than likely this scenario is what Browner will argue on his behalf — it was telling that Browner’s agent, Peter Schaffer, re-Tweeted the PFT story earlier tonight (sports law expert Michael McCann, meanwhile, had these responses on his Twitter page tonight, saying that the NFL might argue that Browner was seeking employment in the league during that time, and as such was beholden to the league’s rules).

The Seahawks made no move with Browner today, possibly waiting to see what happens — Shead can practice with the team now anyway, as a member of the practice squad. If the appeal lessened the penalty, the Seahawks might wait to see if they even need to make a move with Browner — if he’s on the suspended list, it opens up a spot on the roster, same as putting him on IR, but then he doesn’t get paid.

Odds are still that Browner’s Seahawks days are done. But it sounds like this case may not be quite as over as it has been portrayed.

IN OTHER NEWS. …

— Here’s my story on what Carroll had to say today about the suspensions;

Jerry Brewer says Carroll has to find an answer for all the suspensions;

— Here’s ESPN’s wrapup of today’s news;

— SI.com’s Doug Farrar says the Seahawks may be their own worst enemy;

— Seahawks.com puts the spotlight on Byron Maxwell, the likely starter now opposite Richard Sherman.

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