Brandon BrownerReports surfaced Monday that Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner is facing a possible one-year suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. It’s not really a suspension, but a so-called “lifetime ban” that can be lifted after one year, on appeal. Either way, Browner is facing at least one year out of the NFL — except that it’s quite possible that he’s being screwed over by the big bad NFL machine. We’ll let Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio explain:

When players are cut by NFL teams, they remain subject to the testing requirements of the substance-abuse policy.  If they don’t show for the tests (after all, they’re no longer NFL employees), they become subject to the various steps and stages of the substance-abuse program…

…Browner played for the Broncos in 2005.  Cut in 2006, Browner surfaced the following year in the CFL.  Unless Browner violated the substance-abuse policy enough times in one-plus year with the Broncos to land in Stage Three, there’s a chance he fell victim to the unfair expectation that players who have been dumped by the NFL still have to submit to NFL-implemented drug tests, and that he returned to the NFL in 2011 with a lifetime membership in Stage Three.

That’s how Stage Three works.  Once a guy enters Stage Three, he never gets out.  And if he makes one false move while in Stage Three, via a positive test or a failure to show up for a test, he’s done for at least a year.

KJR 950 AM’s Dave “Softy” Mahler also tweeted out information regarding the situation:


Translation: because Brandon Browner couldn’t land an NFL gig for five years, he’s going to be banned — because he was still subject to the bylaws of a league he was not an employee of. If one bit of this is true, this will not got away quietly.