Browns cornerback Joe Haden has appealed a suspension from the NFL and is awaiting the league’s decision, President Mike Holmgren said Tuesday morning during a radio interview with 92.3 The Fan.
“He’s had his appeal hearing, and now it’s up to someone else,” Holmgren said when asked about Haden’s suspension. “And we don’t know.”
It’s still not clear whether Haden will miss any games. In an e-mail response to the Beacon Journal, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote Tuesday, “We have nothing to report from our office.”
The league does not announce suspensions for violations of its substance abuse and steroid policy until the appeals process is complete. If a player wins an appeal, the league won’t announce it.
Haden could be suspended four games after failing a drug test in the offseason, ESPN Cleveland reported Aug. 8. The failed test was a result of Haden taking Adderall, according to the report. Adderall is on the NFL’s list of banned substances.
Holmgren confirmed the suspension Tuesday by stating an appeal hearing has taken place. He gave no such confirmation when asked about Haden’s situation during a news conference Monday at team headquarters in Berea.
It seems likely that Haden will be allowed to play in the regular-season opener Sunday against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles because the NFL has yet to announce a suspension. The league usually makes suspensions public by Tuesday during game weeks.
“I suspect, though, if we haven’t heard by now that we’ll have him for the first game,” Holmgren said Tuesday. “I think, but I don’t know for sure.”
When asked Monday whether he’d be able to play in Week 1, Haden said, “I have no idea.”
Despite the uncertainty, Haden said his teammates have shown their support.
“In the locker room, everybody’s cool,” Haden said. “You just keep going, just keep playing, just keep practicing. That’s what I like about all the teammates. It’s like nothing’s going on. They’re just my family basically.”
If Haden must serve a suspension, nickel cornerback Dimitri Patterson would probably start in his place.
Two New York Giants players were suspended this year for what they said was the use of Adderall, which is often prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The NFL does not announce which drug triggered a failed test. Running back Andre Brown appealed and had his suspension cleared after proving he had a prescription. Safety Tyler Sash lost his appeal and must serve a four-game suspension.
Haden declined to comment when asked last month whether he had a prescription for Adderall. If he misses time, it would be another blow to the Browns.
Starting strongside linebacker Scott Fujita is fighting a three-game suspension in federal court over allegations he played a role in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal. On Tuesday, the NFL Players Association filed for a temporary order to lift the suspensions of Fujita and other players so they can play in their season openers, Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Sports Law Program, tweeted.
Starting weakside linebacker Chris Gocong is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, and starting defensive tackle Phil Taylor will be sidelined for at least the first six weeks as he recovers from a torn pectoral muscle.
It also would be bad timing because Haden is coming off a strong training camp.
“I feel like this is the best I’ve been playing at corner in my life,” he said. “I’ve just become really comfortable at the position, I’m starting to understand just concepts and starting to understand a whole lot, so the game is really slowing down for me.”
However, Haden might not get to show it in all 16 games this year.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/browns.abj.