RENTON, Wash. (AP) - Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that he cannot comment on the possibility that his starting cornerbacks, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, face a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Carroll didn't say much about the situation during his radio show on 710 ESPN in Seattle. ESPN.com first reported Sunday afternoon, following the Seahawks' 24-21 loss at Miami, that Browner and Sherman are facing suspensions and are in the process of appealing. The team has only said it is aware of the report and according to the league's collective bargaining agreement, players can continue to play until the appeal is heard and settled.
Carroll has his regular media availability scheduled for Monday afternoon.
"We really can't talk about it at all. It's up to the league and their representation and all that stuff, so we'll just leave it," Carroll said.
Messages left for Sherman's representatives have not been returned. Browner's representatives said Sunday they would not comment until the team had returned to Seattle, but had yet to follow up.
Sherman, an active participant in social media, posted on his Twitter account late Sunday night after arriving back in the Northwest, "This ... issue will be resolved soon and the truth will come out. Not worried."
If Browner and Sherman are found guilty of violating the league's policy, they would be the fourth and fifth Seahawks players in the last calendar year to be violators. Guard John Moffitt was suspended four games late last season. Reserve offensive lineman Allen Barbre was suspended for the first four games of this season before being released by the team once his suspension was up. And just last week, rookie safety Winston Guy was handed a four-game suspension after taking an over-the-counter product that had a banned substance in the ingredients.
None of those suspensions could have the impact of Browner and Sherman and it possibly could not come at a worse time with the Seahawks trying to hold on to the final wild card spot in the NFC.
Seattle's defense is highly predicated on the ability of its cornerbacks to play man coverage and lock up receivers. Sherman and Browner allow strong safety Kam Chancellor to play closer to the line of scrimmage in run support and give free safety Earl Thomas the chance to roam the secondary with his speed.
If the duo does miss time, Seattle would turn to veteran Marcus Trufant and a trio of youngsters - Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane - to fill the spots.
"We're fortunate that we have four guys that are available to play for us when needed," Carroll said on his radio show. "(Trufant) has been there, he has all the experience in the world. The other three guys are all guys that we've been grooming to play and they're all talented football players and we're excited about them when the time comes. We just don't know when that's going to hit."