Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren told a local sports radio station that cornerback Joe Haden has appealed a four-game drug suspension and is awaiting a final decision on his status from the league.
“He’s had his appeal hearing,” Holmgren told92.3 The Fan.
Haden reportedly tested positive for the stimulant Adderall, according to an espncleveland report last month.
Holmgren surmised that if the NFL hasn’t notified the Browns yet, that perhaps Haden will be available for Sunday’s opener against the Eagles.
“I suspect if we haven’t heard by now, we’ll have him for the first game,” he said before adding that he didn’t really know for sure.
The Browns face the Philadelphia Eagles in Sunday’s regular season opener.
When asked on Monday, Haden said he had “no idea” whether he would be able to play this weekend.
Cleveland will already be without three injured defensive starters, so the possible loss of Haden – the team’s best cover defender – would be an even greater blow.
Per its own policy, the NFL does not comment on suspensions if a player wins his appeal. The league typically hands down suspensions on the Monday or Tuesday of a game week.
If Haden is suspended, Dimitri Patterson will start in his place. Buster Skrine and Trevin Wade will also play key roles in various situational defenses.
Two New York Giants players have already been suspended this offseason for the use of the banned substance Adderall. One, running back Andre Brown, won his appeal after proving that he had a previous prescription, while the other, safety Tyler Sash, lost and must sit out four games.
Neither player followed league protocol and previously notified the NFL of his prescription.
Haden was Cleveland’s seventh overall pick out of Florida in the 2010 NFL Draft. He recorded six interceptions last season to go along with 65 tackles in 15 starts.