The NFL is reviewing a failed drug test by Browns cornerback Joe Haden that could result in a four-game suspension, ESPN Cleveland reported today.
According to the report, a source said Haden tested positive for Adderall during the offseason. Adderall is often prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, but it’s also used as a cognitive enhancer that decreases fatigue. It’s on the NFL’s list of banned substances.
When asked about the report by phone, Browns vice president of media relations Neal Gulkis said, “It’s not something we can confirm or comment on.”
In an e-mail response, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, “We decline comment.”
Haden’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, visited the Browns’ headquarters Tuesday. Neither he nor Haden’s manager, Sean Cabble, have responded to e-mails.
If Haden is suspended, he may appeal. A four-game suspension would cost him about $1.356 million.
It also would be another major blow to the Browns’ defense. Starting weakside linebacker Chris Gocong is out for the season with a torn right Achilles tendon. Starting defensive tackle Phil Taylor is out at least until late October with a torn left pectoral muscle. And starting strongside linebacker Scott Fujita is fighting his three-game suspension for his alleged role in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal in federal court.
If Haden misses time, Dimitri Patterson and Buster Skrine would be the top candidates to replace him in the starting lineup opposite Sheldon Brown.
Haden, the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, started all 15 games in which he appeared during the 2011 season. He compiled 65 tackles and 19 passes defensed without an interception. As a rookie two years ago, he had 57 tackles and 18 passes defensed with six interceptions.