Cornerback Brandon Browner, who had been placed on indefinite suspension by the NFL in December for violating the league’s policy on substance abuse, Tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he had been reinstated.
That makes Browner, who played for the Seahawks the last three seasons but is now a free agent, eligible to sign with any team — including Seattle, if it were to choose to bring him back — when the free agency signing period begins March 11.
“I received wonderful news today,’’ Browner tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “The NFL has reinstated me, and I now have the opportunity to prove to the fans and my teammates how important this sport is to me. I realize now more than ever that being part of the NFL is not a right, but a privilege.’’
Since Browner is now a free agent, the Seahawks had no comment.
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While Browner tweeted that he had been reinstated, it was unclear if that meant he will miss any games next season. Players facing a specific game suspension can participate in all offseason workouts and training camp.
After Browner was deemed to have tested for a banned substance in November (said to be marijuana) the NFL then determined that Browner was a Stage 3 offender. That made him eligible for a one-year suspension because he had not submitted to tests during the time when he played in the Canadian Football League from 2007-10.
Browner’s agent, Peter Schaffer, has contended in numerous interviews that Browner did not receive sufficient notification of the tests. That led Browner to appeal the initial ruling, which was denied by the NFL, which then placed Browner on indefinite suspension.
Schaffer told several outlets last week that he planned to file suit against the NFL not only challenging the decision but also to retrieve financial damages arriving from the suspension.
In his tweet, Browner indicated that Tuesday’s news was the result of a deal struck between the two sides to avoid a battle in court.
Browner, who turns 30 on Aug. 2, played in eight games for the Seahawks in 2013 before suffering a groin injury and then being suspended.
Johnson gets 2nd-round tender
The Seahawks also Tuesday placed a second-round tender on restricted free agent safety Jeron Johnson.
Putting a tender on a restricted free agent means the team has a right of first refusal to match any offer that the player receives (officially, a five-day period after the offer is extended). It also means Johnson will get $2.187 million if he signs the tender and remains with the Seahawks, and that Seattle would be compensated with a second-round pick if he is signed by another team.
Johnson played in just seven games in 2013 as the backup at strong safety to Kam Chancellor while battling hamstring injuries and was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 11.