RENTON — Pete Carroll is biting his tongue when it comes to discussing the possibility of suspensions for his starting cornerbacks.
When asked about the possible four-game suspensions for cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner because the duo apparently violated the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, Carroll predictably did not comment on the issue Monday.
And for good reason — the Seahawks could face up to a $500,000 fine for discussing player suspensions while they are still being processed.
“Really we can’t comment on that at all,” Carroll said. “That is a situation between the players and the league. And we have no position to comment in any way about it.”
First reported by ESPN, Sherman and Browner have apparently tested positive for an amphetamine-type substance similar to Adderall, a prescription stimulant commonly used to treat attention deficit hyper-activity disorder (ADHD).
According to reports by CBS Sports and ProFootballTalk.com, the tests for both players were conducted on a game day in September.
Browner and Sherman claim they did not take the drug; both are appealing the suspension.
According to several reports, the league is attempting to schedule an appeal hearing for the two players sometime next week.
Carroll said that he expects both players to play Sunday at Chicago.
“As of right now, I’m planning on those guys playing,” Carroll said.
Browner’s agent, Peter Schaffer, said his client is innocent.
“Brandon Browner has no knowledge of how an illegal substance could have gotten into his system,” Schaffer said. “He is an outstanding person, and a very good football player. And he takes tremendous care of his body, and is very careful what he puts into it.
“We’re exploring all avenues to try and figure out how any substance out of the ordinary would be in his system.”
Schaffer could not confirm when a hearing date for the appeal will be scheduled. However, he did say normal protocol in this circumstance is for the league to try to schedule an appeal 20 days after the notice is sent to the player that he has tested positive.
Schaffer said that Browner received the notice from the league last week. Schaffer also did not rule out the possibility that his client’s appeal process could spill over into 2013.
But if Browner and Sherman are suspended this season, Carroll said his team has enough depth behind the two Pro Bowl-caliber starters to keep things going in the defensive backfield.
“We have a very solid young bunch of guys that have been with us a long time,” Carroll said. “And also Marcus (Trufant) has been there for a good while. Jeremy Lane has been doing things for us that we’re excited about, and he’s a very exciting football player.
“(Byron) Maxwell has done a great job for us on special teams. And when he gets his chances, he does good stuff. So we’d expect him to be a contributor whenever we call on him, just like any other position. These guys are ready to go.”
Trufant and Walter Thurmond are listed behind Sherman and Browner on the depth chart. However, a likely scenario would have Trufant playing inside on nickel-back situations, with Thurmond playing one side and Maxwell and Lane competing for the other cornerback spot.
Carroll said both linebacker Leroy Hill (ankle) and offensive lineman James Carpenter (leg) appear to be on schedule to be able to practice on Wednesday.Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437