Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was told Thursday he had won his appeal of a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Bob Wallace, the hearing officer for Sherman's appeal, said the appeal was upheld because protocols in were not followed and documented in the acquisition of Sherman's urine sample.
"I do not believe the burden has been met that the departures, especially in the actual collection of the sample, did not materially affect the validity of the positive test," Wallace said in statement.
After first announcing the victory on his Twitter account, Sherman said to reporters: "I know what the truth is and anybody else who knows anything knows what the truth is. The truth has been told today. People can say what they want, there are always naysayers. I have great teammates and great coaches and great fans and that's all I care about."
The NFL has yet to confirm the ruling, declining comment because of confidentiality issues. Sherman had said he would pursue legal action if the ruling was against him.
Sherman and fellow Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner were handed suspensions in November for reportedly testing positive for Adderall. Both appealed, with Browner dropping his appeal three games ago. But Sherman continued with his appeal, arguing that his urine specimen was contaminated while being collected for testing, according to an ESPN.com report.
The crux of Sherman's defense was that his sample cup started leaking and the collector then transferred the sample to another cup. That is against league protocol and the collector did not admit to the transfer until the appeals process.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll tweeted: "Congrats to Richard Sherman for winning his appeal! Happy for him & it'll be great to have him with us as we move forward"
Browner will be eligible to return to the Seahawks following the team's regular-season finale Sunday.
Rookie sixth-round pick Jeremy Lane has started the past two games in Browner's place with veterans Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant sidelined by hamstring injuries.