When word came down Wednesday the NFL had suspended Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner indefinitely for allegedly violating the substance-abuse policy, it brought back some uncomfortable memories for former Seahawk John Moffitt.
Moffitt, who retired from the NFL earlier this fall, can relate. The former offensive lineman was suspended in 2011 for four games after violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Moffitt spoke frankly about the suspension, what it’s like to live under that stigma, and his empathy for Brandon Browner while filling in as a co-host on KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don Show with Luke Burbank.
Moffitt readily admits he used the stimulant Adderall. But he says it wasn’t to enhance his performance, it was strictly recreational.
“I know that when I used it it was a dumb thing I didn’t know had left over, fun, never have used anything to help me with football. I only need help off the field,” he laughs.
But what happened regularly after that was no joke to Moffitt. Like all players, he was subjected to regular urine testing. It was a demeaning experience.
“It’s something that no one really talks about but it is a very creepy thing to take a drug test in the NFL,” he says. “Because there is literally a man that is affiliated with the NFL drug testing, and he calls you into a room. And it’s just you and him, and your pants are down around your ankles, and your shirts off, and he is standing about two feet in front of you, and you are urinating into a cup right in front of him.”
Preparing for the tests was difficult as well. Moffitt says he had to drink multiple bottles of water and Gatorade just to be able to fill the cup.
“I understand that’s what you have to do but it’s very invasive,” he says.
As for Browner, there’s no confirmation of what drug caused him to test positive. But it’s believed to be marijuana. Moffitt says it’s absurd the league treats the drug as a banned substance while allowing players to drink alcohol.
“It’s ridiculous…to me, if you’re an athlete and you’re drinking, you’re deteriorating your body far more than if you’re an athlete and you’re using marijuana,” he says.
Moffitt says based on his observation in the locker room, at least 50 percent of players use marijuana, and he wouldn’t be surprised if that number was much higher.
So why don’t more test positive? Because the league only tests for recreational drugs once a year, sometime between April and August. And players get a heads up when the testing will take place.
“So if you can’t be clean between April and August, then you have a problem.”
Browner has gotten plenty of criticism for the positive test, especially since he previously failed a drug test back in 2005 as a rookie with the Denver Broncos. But Moffitt says even though Browner screwed up, he feels for him having gone through the scrutiny and criticism himself.
“It’s very tough because you feel like you’re in a fishbowl and the whole world is just looking in at you and basically shaking their finger at you,” he says.