The Seattle Seahawks face a possible fine for multiple members of the team being suspended for violating the NFL's steroid and personal conduct policy, league spokesman Greg Aiello told NFL.com.
When defensive end Bruce Irvin was suspended last Friday for the first four games of the 2013 season after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances, he became the fifth Seattle player to be suspended for using banned substances since 2011, a troubling trend. Six have tested positive, with only cornerback Richard Sherman having his suspension overturned on appeal last December. John Moffitt, Allen Barbre, Winston Guy, Brandon Browner and Irvin have received four-game suspensions. Barbre was later released by the team, while the other four are still on Seattle's roster.
"There are financial consequences for a team that has multiple players suspended in a season under those policies," Aiello told NFL.com, when asked about the rule.
In an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday, Seahawks general manager John Schneider called Irvin's suspension a "learning opportunity" for the team.
"This is something we take very seriously here," Schneider said in the interview. "The league has done a great job of educating guys and we've actually gone above and beyond what the league has done. We have a guy in place here that helps our player development people. You do what you can. It's very disappointing. Pete [Carroll] and I sat down with Bruce. Pete addressed it with the team. Bruce addressed the team."
As the Seahawks opened OTAs on Monday, coach Pete Carroll also had to address news that backup quarterback Josh Portis faces a DWI charge and faces a court arraignment next week.
"It's a very important opportunity for us to go ahead and figure it out and to help these guys so they can get what they deserve," Carroll said. "Unfortunately you go wrong you get popped and that's how this thing works. I'm really disappointed we have to deal with anything like this but there is going to be other issues too and we're going to have to deal with them."
The Seahawks waived Portis on Tuesday.
According to a report from the Washington State Patrol, Portis was pulled over on May 5 for driving 80 mph in a 60 mph zone on Interstate 90. The officer wrote he noticed "a strong odor of intoxicants" coming from the vehicle and that Portis performed poorly in field sobriety tests. Portis later gave a breath test that registered .092 and .078. The legal limit in Washington state is .08.
Portis was in his second stint with the Seahawks. He was re-signed by Seattle in early April after the team traded Matt Flynn to Oakland. He was expected to compete with Jerrod Johnson and Brady Quinn for one of the backup quarterback spots on Seattle's roster.
Carroll gave a lengthy opening statement after Seattle's first OTA workout, addressing head on the recent off-field problems that have put some of his players in the headlines.
Carroll said the Seahawks go beyond the league requirements for educating players, but he said they will continue to re-evaluate what needs to be done.
"Continually because it's not right yet. We all know that there are big issues. It's not just here it's not just in sports. It's in schools. It's everywhere," he said. "We have to try and figure it out and help through education and all of the ways that we can and we'll always compete to try and find more creative ways to make the message clear."
Irvin will be eligible to participate in all offseason activities and preseason practices and games, but will be suspended without pay for the opening four games at Carolina, home for San Francisco and Jacksonville and at Houston. Irvin will be eligible to return to Seattle's active roster on Sept. 30 following the Seahawks' Week 4 game against the Texans.
"For Bruce we're going to try and help him along as best as we possibly can. He's made an enormous commitment to try and do the right thing and try to be right and he made a mistake. And he admitted it," Carroll said. "He owned up to it to his teammates and he owned up to it to the staff and he owns up to it to everybody. He wants to do right and show that he can and we're going to see that through and see if we can't get that done for him."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.