The NFL announced on Wednesday that Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner will be suspended without pay for four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Browner had considered appealing the decision, but instead will begin serving the suspension immediately. Fellow cornerback Richard Sherman reportedly has an appeal date with the league set for Dec. 14, so he will be eligible to play this Sunday against Arizona.
Both players allegedly tested positive for an amphetamine-like substance.
“The process is going to play out how it’s going to play out,” Sherman said last week. “And when you know what you know, you just continue to be confident, continue to go out there and play.”
Browner, 28, will be eligible to return to the Seahawks’ active roster on Dec. 31, a day after Seattle’s final regular-season game against St. Louis.
He would be eligible to participate in any playoff games.
The suspension will cost Browner more than $100,000.
In his first season as a starter in 2011, Browner led the Seahawks with six interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and had a league-high 23 pass deflections.
Through 12 games this season, Browner was second on the team in interceptions (3) and seventh in tackles (44).
Browner and Sherman have combined with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor to give the Seahawks one of the best defensive backfields in the league. Seattle is ranked No. 3 in the league in pass defense, giving up an average of 203.4 yards a contest.
“I’ve been disappointed by the whole situation,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said about Browner’s suspension. “But he had to deal with it, and we have to deal with it. So there’s nothing we can do about it at this point.”
With Browner out for the next four games, Walter Thurmond will be Seattle’s starting cornerback.
The third-year pro started the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list because of a broken leg suffered in October 2011 against the Cleveland Browns.
Thurmond played for the first time this season last week against Chicago, replacing an injured Marcus Trufant as Seattle’s fifth defensive back in passing situations.
The University of Oregon product also has experience as a starter. A fourth-round selection by Seattle in the 2010 draft, Thurmond has started four games for the Seahawks.
“That’s just the NFL,” Thurmond said about his starting job. “If somebody goes down, you have to be able to come in and step up. It’s like that all over the league, and you just have to make the most of the opportunity when you get your chance.”
With Thurmond moving into the starting lineup, Jeremy Lane, Seattle’s sixth-round draft pick in 2012, will be the team’s fifth defensive back in passing situations.
With Browner out, Seattle elevated cornerback DeShawn Shead from the practice squad to the active roster. The Seahawks also signed cornerback Ron Parker from Carolina’s practice squad to the team’s active roster. Parker was one of the final roster cuts for Seattle in September at the end of training camp.
Seattle added running back Derrick Coleman to the practice squad.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin competes against Seattle’s young cornerbacks every day in practice, so he understands more than most the type of depth the Seahawks have at that position.
“I’m extremely confident,” Baldwin said. “Unfortunately, this league is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately type of league. We forget that Walter Thurmond was actually starting above Richard Sherman and B.B. Browner before they got here.
“So I have the utmost confidence in Thurmond, in just being able to practice against him, and also Jeremy Lane (and) Byron Maxwell. All those guys are more than capable of holding their own out there on the field.”
NFL REWARDS WILSON
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was named the NFC offensive player of the week by the league for his performance against the Bears last Sunday.
Wilson matched his season high for passing yards with 293, completing 23 of 37 passes. He threw two touchdown passes, including the winner to Sidney Rice on a 13-yard crossing route in overtime.
Wilson ran for 71 yards, and finished with a 104.9 passer rating. He becomes the first Seattle player to win the award since Shaun Alexander in 2005.
In his past eight games, Wilson has thrown 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has a 105.2 rating in that span, third best in the league.
Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant did not practice on Wednesday because of plantar fasciitis. However, Carroll said that Bryant’s foot is in better shape than last week, when he was a game-time decision at Chicago. … Cornerback Marcus Trufant did not practice because of a hamstring injury that kept him out of the Chicago game, and likely will not play Sunday. ... Running back Marshawn Lynch (back), linebacker Leroy Hill (ankle) and receiver Sidney Rice (head) were limited participants in practice. Carroll said that Rice was cleared to play after going through concussion protocol this week. Rice suffered a hard hit on the final play of the Chicago game when he scored the winning touchdown. He needed attention from trainers on the field before getting up and walking off on his own.Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks