There is a burgeoning problem rearing its ugly head for the Seattle Seahawks: PEDs (performance enhancing drugs). It first arrived when boisterous cornerback Richard Sherman and fellow tandem cornerback Brandon Browner were found in violation of the NFL’s drug policy standards. The substance in question with both players was Adderall, a drug used for those who have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and augments focus and concentration. The NFL handed down four game suspensions to both players as a result which Sherman successfully repealed through the stipulation of an illegal collection process. Browner however was not as fortunate as the league imposed the four game suspension and veteran Marcus Trufant, along with Walter Thurmond, filled in admirably for the talented Browner.
Now more troubling news has reached the Seahawks organization as the young pass rushing specialist, Bruce Irvin, has been found to be in violation of the NFL PED policy as well and will be forced to sit out at least four games next season. Even more concerning is that the Seahawks now have had at least six players since 2011 to be found in breach of the PED agreement: as aforementioned, Sherman and Browner, along with OT Allen Barbre, OG John Moffitt, safety Winston Guy and now Bruce Irvin. These transgressions have thrust the Seahawks organization into the spotlight and not in a good way. While the Seahawks are talented enough to fill in the void that Irvin will leave, the problem is that this seems to be reoccurring, which brings a question of leadership.
Who is to blame for these minor deviations? Is head honcho Pete Carroll reinforcing an environment in which players feel like they can get away with what I would label as "cheating"? I know it may seem churlish and you may lambast me for it, but Carroll does not have the best track record when it comes to upholding the rules. Remember USC and the Reggie Bush days? Or, do we look at the veterans of the team, who may have a hard time laying down the law when it comes to getting players to buy in to adhering to the NFL policies? Personally, I think that coaches need to set the tone for what is expected and accepted. So if the NFL hands down a four game suspension, then the team should lay down its own personal suspension and be docked pay. I think this will induce players to be held more accountable and be more aware of the consequences of their unruly actions.
One promising sign is that safety Kam Chancellor announced on Monday during a radio interview that the team has taken measures to be more aware of their potentially harmful decisions and how it could negatively affect the team. "The vets, we put a meeting together to talk to the guys about not making the same mistakes over and over," said Chancellor and added that "we have to grow up and move past that. That's pretty much the message right now." This begs the question of what measures will the team take to curb this problem. They need to throw off the mantra of PED violators and supplant it with the most important aspect of any football organization: winning. And it is also important they do it in quick fashion for not only does it hinder their chances of making a Super Bowl run, but they need remember that budding athletes in high school and college alike look up these guys as role models. What do all these drug suspensions instill upon these young athletes? Most likely a poor reflection that supports the mentality that an individual does whatever they can through whatever means (even if illegal) to achieve 'success'. I am glad that the veterans have taken the call to action to change their taboo ways, but I remain dubious that it will cause any wakes in terms of being motivated to play in a more honest fashion. If anything, I think the players will only implement more tacit actions in avoiding the swift hand of NFL justice.