Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner is believed to have turned down a deal offered by the NFL as he seeks a fine and no lost games, John Clayton reported on 710 ESPN on Tuesday, and Clayton says Browner is unlikely to face the yearlong suspension the NFL originally planned to levy for what appears to be his first positive test for substance abuse.
"I think he has been offered one deal and has turned it down," said Clayton, who checked for an update on the case Tuesday. "The one year I think is going to be off the table. But I don’t think he settles for anything less than a four-paycheck, no-suspension type of arrangement. If not, I think he takes it to federal court. I think he feels very good about his case."
Clayton also said there was no timetable at this point.
"He had three days of hearings last week, all done by phone, and he's still awaiting a verdict," Clayton said. "He's still not anticipating anything very quickly."
Browner is facing a full year's suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, reportedly for testing positive for a small amount of marijuana.
Browner's appeal is based on extenuating circumstances. Several corroborating reports indicate he was in the league's drug program in 2006 when the Denver Broncos cut him. But he fell off the NFL grid when he went to Canada and played in the CFL from 2007 to 2010. Missed tests with the NFL during that time counted against him, and he was therefore placed in Stage 3 of the league's program when he signed with the Seahawks in 2011.
A positive test while in Stage 3 results in a yearlong suspension, which was the initial indication when news of the positive test broke last week.
The fact that he has been offered a deal indicates that the league agrees at least partly with Browner's argument and seemingly has softened its stance on the one-year penalty.
It remains to be seen how pliable the NFL will be and whether Browner will indeed take the league to court once the league decides on a penalty.