An indefinite suspension due to the NFL's substance abuse policy forced Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner to miss his team's Super Bowl run. Now the former CFL defensive back is suing the league for that suspension, which he and his agent deem unfair, according to Pro Football Talk. His agent Peter Schaffer told PFT that he plans file the lawsuit soon.
Browner was suspended due to several failed drug tests, which the player contends were the majority were taken during his five-year absence from the NFL and were due to missed exams. The Broncos cut Browner in 2006, which caused the cornerback to look for work in the CFL, where he stayed until the Seahawks signed him in 2011. PFT asserts what the lawsuit will entail:
Cases attacking the arbitration process mandated by the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement typically fail due to a high standard aimed at respecting such outcomes. Browner brings to the table a unique twist. Although his latest violation of the substance-abuse policy happened while he was an employee of the NFL and a member of the NFL Players Association, Schaffer will argue that the violations placing Browner one strike away from an indefinite suspension lasting at least one year happened while he wasn't employed by any NFL team, and while he wasn't a member of the NFLPA.
Browner contends that his suspension resulted from his placement in Stage Three of the substance-abuse program due to tests he missed while not in the NFL from 2006 to 2011. He had missed enough tests to trigger an indefinite suspension before returning to the league, but he nevertheless was permitted to sign with the Seahawks. The league thereafter placed Browner in Stage Three of the program.
The missed tests will likely serve as an important argument in the case, as Browner was no longer employed by the league, nor was he the owner of the property at which he was supposed to be trained. The NFL will need to prove that their actions were warranted under the CBA and the contract Browner signed with the NFLPA.
Browner is set to be a free agent in March, but with an indefinite suspension, will likely miss out on a large contract.