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Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman's path towards an All-Pro nod in 2012 was nearly derailed by a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy against performance-enhancing drugs.
Sherman fought the suspension and won, as his claims that there were irregularities in the testing process overturned his ban and kept him in the Seahawks' lineup. Sherman's positive test result was reportedly linked to Adderall, a stimulant that contains amphetamine.
At the time of his suspension, Sherman denied reports that he claimed to have accidentally drank from a cup containing a crushed Adderall pill. Following a day working with elementary school students in Surrey, British Columbia on Tuesday, Sherman told the Vancouver Sun that Adderall use is so prevalent in the NFL, the league should remove it from the list of banned substances.
“About half the league takes it and the league has to allow it," Sherman said of Adderall use in the NFL. "The league made a mistake in my case. Obviously, I didn’t do anything, but you have to go through a process to prove you didn’t do anything. There are still naysayers out there who don’t believe me. But I accept it. If everybody loves you, it probably means you’re not much of a player."
If Adderall use is as widespread as Sherman says it is, there would certainly be a larger number of performance-enhancing drug suspensions. All we can really say with any level of certitude is that half of the starting cornerbacks on the 2012 Seattle Seahawks took Adderall, either knowingly or unknowingly, at some point during 2012 as Brandon Browner, a 2011 Pro Bowler, chose not to fight the NFL over his four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
It's also possible that Adderall has become the "excuse du jour" among suspended NFL players who know that the NFL has never (and will never) publicly divulge or comment on the specific substance that triggered a positive test result. The players are also aware that Adderall use is permitted by the NFL, provided the proper paperwork has been filed with the league office.
New York Giants running back Andre Brown had his four-game performance-enhancing drug policy suspension lifted last summer after he failed to disclose his Adderall prescription to the league office. Afterwards, Adderall was linked to the suspensions of then Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Eric Wright, New England Patriots defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, Giants safeties Will Hill and Tyler Sash, Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Neal, Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden, as well as Sherman and Browner.
No matter how prevalent Adderall use is now or will get in the coming years amongst NFL players, it's highly doubtful that a league that is currently pushing for HGH testing will ever remove a stimulant that contains amphetamine from its list of banned substances.
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