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Brandon Browner won't take deal that puts free agency in question

Will Brandon Browner be suspended for anything? (USATSI)
Brandon Browner's suspension is tied to drug tests he missed when he was out of football. (USATSI)

For more news and notes from Jason La Canfora, tune into The NFL Today Sunday at noon ET on CBS.

Seattle corner Brandon Browner is still awaiting final word on his appeal of a year-long suspension for substance abuse (marijuana in this case), and there have not been any recent discussions regarding him cutting a deal with the league for a lesser sentence. He remains prepared to sue the league over the fact he was escalated to Stage 3 of the program -- which includes much steeper penalties -- for tests he failed to take when he was out of the league over six years ago. These are tests he testified he never even was made aware he had to take.

It remains possible the league could still settle with him before the NFL Management Council hands down a verdict on his appeal, and indeed, several league sources believe the case remains in limbo because that group would prefer not to have to try to establish some sort of precedent here and would be more inclined to have the parties come to their own conclusions, which is not out of the norm. It was the case, just this season for instance, in the suspensions handed down to Browns receiver Josh Gordon and Broncos defensive end Von Miller.

The NFL has already offered to reinstate Browner in October. It was an offer made more than a week ago, and one that was quickly rejected by Browner's legal team, sources said. Any deal that led into the postseason -- when Browner could recoup some of his lost base salary from a suspension -- or into March, when he is eligible to be an unrestricted free agent, would similarly be dismissed, sources said.

Should the league agree to, say, a six-week suspension dating back to when Browner first received his suspension letter two weeks ago -- which would bring him back for the postseason --– then the matter could likely be resolved outside the appeal process. It remains unclear whether or not the NFL would agree to that, but the prospect of having Browner sue over some of the unclear language and issues with his testing while out of the league -- and what that could mean for other players who also were moved through the program in the past while out of the NFL -- might be enough to end up with both sides brokering some type of agreement.

However, no such talks have taken place recently or are planned, and there has been no timetable offered to Browner as to when a decision might be rendered.

 
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