RENTON, WASH. (AP) - The Seattle Seahawks are about to find out how much losing at least one of their top cornerbacks means to their defense.
Brandon Browner has dropped the appeal of his suspension for using performance-enhancing substances and will miss the final four games of the regular season, the league announced Wednesday.
Browner’s loss leaves the Seahawks without a Pro Bowl cornerback whose size and physical play has flustered wide receivers for much of the past two seasons. Walter Thurmond, who was a starter for a short time during the 2011 season before suffering a leg injury, will take Browner’s spot.
“I’ve thought all along that we are very fortunate to have Walter with some background that has started for us in the past,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s an excellent athlete. He played very well for us this last week and he’ll step right up into that mode.”
A day later, Browner’s agent, Peter Schaffer, said his client had no knowledge of how any banned substance got into his system, but he did not provide specifics on when an appeal might take place.
Messages left for Schaffer on Wednesday were not immediately returned. Sherman is going forward with his appeal and he can play while that is under way.
“I’m still not commenting about it, but I’m disappointed when we lose anybody by injury or whatever. These guys work so hard to be here and all of that and you come to rely on guys, and when you lose guys it’s always disappointing,” Carroll said. “But really where the focus goes for us is right to the guys who are stepping up.”
Browner has 44 tackles, three interceptions and six passes defensed this season. He is in his second season with the Seahawks after getting pulled from the Canadian Football League because he fit the mold of what Carroll wants: big, physical cornerbacks who can play man coverage.
He was voted as a Pro Bowl alternate in his first NFL season, and ended up playing in the game. Last season he had 54 tackles and six interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
“I’ve been disappointed about the whole situation, that it is something that he had to deal with it and we had to deal with it, but there is nothing we can do at this point,” Carroll said.
Thurmond has played in just one game in the past 13 months, that coming last week in Chicago when he took over as Seattle’s defensive back in nickel situations with veteran Marcus Trufant out with a hamstring injury. Thurmond played in six games and started three during the 2011 season before suffering a broken ankle at Cleveland.