Brandon LaFell #11 of the Carolina Panthers makes a leaping first down catch against defender Brandon Browner #39 of the Seattle Seahawks during play at Bank of America Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
CB Brandon Browner tweeted Tuesday that he has been officially reinstated to the NFL after being suspended indefinitely for violations of the league's substance-abuse policy in December.
"I received wonderful news today," Browner wrote in statement posted to his Twitter account. "The NFL has reinstated me, and I now have the opportunity to prove to the fans and my teammates how important this sport is to me.
"I realize now more than ever that being part of the NFL is not a right, but a privilege. I am grateful that Commissioner Goodell and my agent were able to resolve this issue in a positive, productive manner so I can continue my career, provide for my family, and help my team win a Super Bowl.
"Thank you to all who have gone out of their way to show their support. I will live up to your expectations of me."
Browner was suspended indefinitely by the league on Dec. 18. He missed the last two games of the regular season and all three playoff games because of the suspension. He had missed the previous four games before the suspension due to an injured groin.
Browner could apply for reinstatement to the league after a year. However, Browner appealed the decision and threatened legal action against the league if he was not reinstated.
Browner progressed through stages of the league's substance-abuse program while playing for the Calgary Stampede of the Canadian Football League. He missed scheduled drug tests with the NFL while playing in Calgary, which counted as a failed test in the drug program. It moved Browner to a stage where one more strike and he would be suspended for a year.
Browner and his agent, Peter Schaffer, fought the NFL on the suspension and have apparently prevailed in their battle against the league. Browner still is not without fault in this situation. He understood where the league viewed him to be in the program and still tested positive for drugs again to provoke the final suspension. Ultimately, he still was getting a somewhat harsher treatment than he probably deserved.
The timing of the overturned suspension is also a big plus for Browner. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next Tuesday and can now hit the open market. It will allow Browner to resume a career that may have been over if the suspension had played to its conclusion.
Nevertheless, Browner will likely remain one more misstep from once again being slapped with an indefinite suspension. It could temper the enthusiasm of teams looking to sign him this offseason.
His time in Seattle is likely over. With CB Byron Maxwell emerging as a solid starting option and CB Jeremy Lane proving a capable backup, along with last year's fifth-round pick CB Tharold Simon potentially factoring in next year, the Seahawks will likely look elsewhere at the cornerback position.
-- Report: Seahawks give S Jeron Johnson second-round RFA tender
According to Mike Garafolo of FOXSports.com, the Seahawks have applied a second-round restricted free agent tender to S Jeron Johnson.
Johnson is one of three restricted free agents for Seattle this offseason along with WR Doug Baldwin and C Lemuel Jeanpierre.
The second-round tender entitles Seattle to receive a second-round draft pick as compensation should another team sign Johnson to an offer sheet in free agency. Seattle would have the opportunity to match the offer sheet, but would receive the draft pick if they let Johnson move on.
The tender comes with a contract value as well. In 2013, the value of a second-round tender was just over $2 million. The amount for this season will likely be slightly increased over last year.
Johnson has been mainly a reserve option and key special teams player over the last three years. He played just seven games last season before landing on injured reserve. Johnson dealt with hamstring injuries to both legs during the year.
The second-round tender likely reveals that Seattle believes an original round tender (undrafted in 2011), wouldn't be enough to keep Johnson with the Seahawks. A team could sign him to an offer sheet and Seattle wouldn't receive compensation if the Seahawks didn't match the offer.
Seattle tendered three restricted free agents last season with original-round tenders - LS Clint Gresham, S Chris Maragos and DT Clinton McDonald at an amount of $1.323 million. However, Seattle forced all three players to take pay cuts/restructured deals to remain with the team. They released McDonald during final cuts before bringing him back after the first week of the season.
The Seahawks could try a similar tactic with Johnson.
Brandon Browner through the years