By Brent Stecker
It wasn't that long ago that the Seahawks were the talk of the NFL for their big offseason additions like wide receiver Percy Harvin and defensive end Cliff Avril.
They're still the talk of the NFL, but the conversation has shifted from their transactions to their transgressions. Last week, second-year defensive end Bruce Irvin became the fifth Seahawk in the last three years to be suspended for performance-enhancing drugs, an alarming number that has fueled a new team nickname: The "Seadderal" Seahawks.
Defensive end Bruce Irvin will miss the first four games of the 2013 season after being suspended for a positive performance-enhancing drug test. (AP)
Not only is the sheer number of violations rare for an NFL team, but so are the types of players that have been popped, as Newsday NFL columnist Bob Glauber told "Bob and Groz" last week.
"We've seen pockets of these kind of problems spring up around the league, but it's a bit unusual in this day and age because the testing program has by and large been pretty good and pretty effective," Glauber said. "The difference here is, generally speaking, when you see positive tests from players around the league, it's generally for players who are kind of fringe guys, on the margins of a roster. Now you're kind of looking at kinda top-end guys getting in trouble in Seattle. I think that's a pretty big difference and a pretty important difference in this whole situation."
Irvin joined guard John Moffitt, offensive tackle Allen Barbre, strong safety Winston Guy and cornerback Brandon Browner on the list of Seahawks to be suspended for PEDs. Star cornerback Richard Sherman has also tested positive, though his suspension was overturned on appeal. Every player other than Barbre is still on Seattle's roster.
Considering how many players – talented ones at that – that have been suspended, the Seahawks will have more to prove than the average team in 2013.
"They have to steer clear of (violations) and play well," Glauber said. "I think the first part is easy enough to do if the players and coaching staff and the manager are committed to rooting out the problem. And I assume at this point with all the revelations, they would be – and they should be.
"The next part is winning, and if there's a noticeable drop-off, sure, people will say, 'Well, you know, is Seattle not playing as well because the Adderall is gone, or whatever other performance-enhancing drug they have tested positive for is not there?'"
Regardless of how the Seahawks play, their reputation means they'll be scrutinized at every turn.
"I think that this latest suspension has certainly raised eyebrows, and when you've got that many in that short a period of time, I think that people have to be concerned about it and have to say, 'Well, this is unusual,'" said Glauber. "It's unusual for this many suspensions and near-suspensions for one team in that short a period of time, so absolutely some red flags have been raised. I think around the league, people would say, 'Yeah, what's going on in Seattle?' I think that's a pretty common reaction."