Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Suspended Seahawks corner Brandon Browner plans to sue NFL

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, who was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in December, will file a lawsuit against the NFL next week in an attempt to be reinstated, his agent Pete Schaffer told

Browner was suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy—according to Schaffer the failed test was for marijuana—and he faces a minimum of a one-year suspension based on the league's drug policies. Browner and his agent contest that Browner should not have been in position to face such a lengthy ban, because he only advanced to Stage 3 of the NFL's substance abuse program because he missed tests he was unaware of while playing in the Canadian Football League.

Were Browner eligible, he would become an unrestricted free agent on March 11, and will seek an injunction allowing him to be eligible both for free agency and to practice and play until the lawsuit is resolved.

From the report:

"I'm not afraid to fight City Hall," Schaffer told PFT by phone on Wednesday. "I've bent over backward to find a way to work something out with the league to make everyone comfortable.

"I don't understand how the league can ruin someone's career over this fact pattern. I'll represent Brandon zealously to make sure his career isn't ruined."

Schaffer says he isn't troubled by the possibility that taking up this specific fight will have separate consequences for Browner, or for his lawyer.

"My job is to protect my player," Schaffer said. "You can use the word 'blackball' for Brandon. I could get blackballed, too. But I don't care. I'd do it every day of the week."

This lawsuit could change how the league pursues those who violate the substance-abuse policy. And it could help save Browner’s reputation and career.