Two things are certain about the Seattle Seahawks. They're one of the more talented teams in the NFL, and they've got an issue with the league regarding the use of Adderall. In the last two years, five different Seahawks -- offensive guard John Moffit, offensive tackle Allen Barbre, defensive back Winston Guy, cornerback Brandon Browner, and defensive end Bruce Irvin -- have all been suspended by the NFL for violations of the league's policcy on performance-enhancing substances. Cornerback Richard Sherman was suspended along with Browner late in the 2012 season, but he had his suspension overturned due to a faulty test. Irvin was popped for the first four games of the 2013 season for his failed test, and that clearly threatens Seattle's depth on the defensive line.
Per Seattle sports-talk station KJR, Irvin was suspended for the use of Adderall, for which Moffitt, Browner, and Sherman also reportedly failed tests. It's not known what substances were of concern with Guy and Barbre, but the real issue in Seattle clearly seems to be that the players don't seem to understand how serious this situation is. Coaches and front office people can talk all they want about it, but in the end, this is a locker room issue, and players must put the message across.
Fourth-year Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor told SIRIUS NFL Radio on Monday that there was recently a players-only meeting in which these issues were discussed.
"We had our meeting -- the vets put a meeting together to talk to the guys about not making the same mistakes over and over," Chancellor said. "You know, we gotta grow up and move past that. So that's pretty much the message right now -- growing up and not making the same mistakes over and over."
At a minicamp practice on May 20, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll tried to explain what the team is doing about it, and hoped to establish that things haven't spiraled out of control.
"We try to bring each kid as far along as we possibly can to make them available for the opportunity that they have," Carroll said. "Each one of them is a different story. Each one of them, there is a different road that they traveled. Even though we go together, they have to figure out how to do this right. [We want to see] why guys make choices and why guys will jeopardize their opportunity and their future. The league understands that, we understand it and have been working with it for years and years with young people, and we continue to still face issues that we want to try and deal with in a better way. It’s a very important opportunity in a sense for us to go ahead and figure it out, and then help these guys so that they can get what they deserve. Unfortunately if you go wrong, you get popped and that’s how this thing works, and I’m really disappointed that we have to deal with anything like this. But there are going to be other issues too, and we have to deal with them."
But as veteran fullback Michael Robinson told me after that practice, the players must take responsibility for their own actions. And if it takes teammates to point that out -- though it really shouldn't -- well, that's where the team is.
"I'm an older guy on the team, and the younger guys come to me and talk to me about a lot of different things," Robinson said. "And you know that guys aren't perfect. They make mistakes. We're a very, very young team -- still. I know people are picking us to do this, that, and the third, but we're still a very young team. You can't crucify a guy for one mistake.
"You have to know that when you walk outside this building, people are going to try and paint a picture of what this locker room is. We know what it is, and guys know they can talk to anyone about anything."
Adderall has been an increasingly prominent issue around the NFL of late, with several players on different teams facing and serving suspensions. Young teams like the Seahawks will apparently require the work of their veterans to get the point across.
"It comes down to the player at the end of the day, and the player's responsible for what he puts into his body," Robinson concluded. "Guys have to be smarter."