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Originally published Monday, December 24, 2012 at 6:55 PM

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Seahawks, Richard Sherman await result of drug-test appeal

Seahaws could be without cornerback Sherman for the next four games if his appeal of a positive drug test is denied by the league.

Seattle Times staff reporter


St. Louis @ Seahawks,

1:25 p.m., Ch. 13

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RENTON — The Seahawks have won every game they've played this month, putting together the league's largest three-game scoring total in 62 years en route to the team's longest winning streak in five years.

It's possible the Seahawks will suffer a loss before they take the field again, though.

Cornerback Richard Sherman appealed his positive test for a banned substance on Friday, and while no ruling has been given yet, one is expected this week. If his appeal is denied, he will likely be suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

That makes Sherman's status for Sunday's regular-season finale against St. Louis a question mark. Any suspension would continue into the postseason and perhaps even into next year until he has missed the required number of games in either the regular season or playoffs (suspensions don't apply to exhibition games).

All that depends upon the outcome of his appeal, and on Monday, the transcript of the appeal was still being processed.

"I think it went well," Sherman said of the hearing. "We pleaded our case. We proved that they made procedural errors, that they violated the chain of custody."

The central issue is the use of a second cup for the urine test, which was taken in September.

"The tester grabbed the cup, an unsealed cup, and poured my urine into it," Sherman said. "That's a violation, but the league says they can do that and get away with it. I may still lose because it is up to the league. It's not a neutral court."

The outcome of the appeal may not entirely depend on whether a violation occurred in the testing protocol, but rather if that violation would invalidate the result of the test.

Sherman said the appeals process — which is dictated by the terms of the collective-bargaining agreement — is stilted against the player contesting the result.

"It's definitely not fair," he said. "If it was in a neutral court, I'd be very confident that I would win. But it's not a neutral court, so you have to deal with what you have to deal with."

And how would the Seahawks deal with the potential absence of Sherman, a second-year cornerback from Stanford?

Well, rookie Jeremy Lane and second-year cornerback Byron Maxwell have played well the past two weeks, and Brandon Browner returns from suspension the day after Seattle's regular-season finale. Marcus Trufant is expected back at practice Wednesday after missing the past four games because of a sore hamstring, and Walter Thurmond may be able to return, too.

That doesn't mean Seattle wouldn't miss Sherman, though.

"He's become a fantastic football player," coach Pete Carroll said. "There can't be a guy that's covering any better than him. He's a factor on every ball that's thrown his way, and if you get one, you're pretty fortunate. It's because he's so smart and he's gifted and he works so hard at it and all the rest."

Sherman has intercepted seven passes, tied for second-most in the league. If he is suspended, he would be ineligible to be chosen for the Pro Bowl.


• Rookie safety Winston Guy was activated to the 53-man roster on Monday and receiver Deon Butler was waived to make room. Guy returned to practice last week after serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. The Seahawks received a roster exemption for Guy, meaning he could practice with the team last week, but was not eligible to play.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or

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