Seattle Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin was handed a four-game suspension last month for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He was the sixth Seahawks player to test positive since 2011, with only cornerback Richard Sherman having his suspension overturned.
San Francisco Coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about that rash of suspensions this week, and didn’t miss an opportunity to jab his NFC West rival, beginning another chapter in the barely-civil relationship he has with Seattle Coach Pete Carroll.
Asked in a news conference about the Seahawks’ suspensions, Harbaugh said: “I’ve definitely noticed it. You don’t know what it [the banned substance] is. Even when people say what it is, you don’t know that that’s what it is. I’ve heard this thrown out or that, but that’s usually the agent or the players themselves saying it’s, for example, Adderal. But the NFL doesn’t release what it actually is, so you have no idea. You’re taking somebody at their word that I don’t know if you can take them at their word, understanding the circumstances.”
And how do you address that with your players, Jim?
“It has no place in an athlete’s body,” he said. “Play by the rules. You want to be above reproach, especially when you’re good, because you don’t want people to come back and say, 'They’re winning because they’re cheating.' That’s always going to be a knee-jerk reaction in my experience, since I was a little kid. We want to be a above reproach in everything and do everything by the rules. If you don’t, if you cheat to win then you’ve already lost, according to Bo Schembechler. And Bo Schembechler is about next to the Word of God. It’s not the Word of God, but it’s close.”
Naturally, that didn’t go over too well with the Seahawks, and especially cornerback Brandon Browner, who served one of those four-game suspensions last season.
In a subsequent interview with radio station KJR’s Dave “Softy” Mahler, Browner was asked what he thought of Harbaugh’s comments.
“He’s never gonna be out there lined up against me,” Browner said. “I wish he would. I’d put my hands around his neck.”
The NFC West should be interesting this season.