Brandon Browner has been reinstated by the NFL, but he is still expected to serve out a suspension of some length to start the 2014 season as part of his settlement with the league, according to ESPN. Browner had been serving out an indefinite suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
While the length of the potential suspension is unknown, the fact that Browner is back in the league is tremendous news for the cornerback, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 11. Though he has run afoul of the league in the past, he has also been an effective defender opposite Richard Sherman in the Seattle Seahawks secondary. Now that he will definitively be playing in 2014 — at some point, at least — Browner should draw much more attention and better contract offers from the marketplace.
The NFL's change of heart was seemingly tied to threats of legal action from Browner's agent. Browner argued that he should not have been elevated to Stage 3 of the league's testing program for missing mandated drug tests while he was playing in the Canadian Football League. As a result of the missed testing, Browner was put within one miscue of earning an indefinite suspension as opposed to a weaker penalty.
Browner was initially given a one-year suspension. His request for an appeal was denied last December, and then he was given a seemingly harsher "indefinite" timeline for return. Browner served two and a half months of his suspension.
Browner was named to the Pro Bowl for the Seahawks in 2011, just one season after finishing a four-year stint in the CFL. He was suspended for the first four games of 2012 for missed drug tests, however, then appeared in just eight games last season. He was sidelined because of a groin injury, then the NFL forced him to sit the last two regular season games and the Seahawks' Super Bowl run.