Updated Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 02:31 AM
RENTON — Cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman were at Seahawks headquarters Wednesday.
So was the elephant in the room: their possible four-game suspensions.
Everyone knows it's there even if they aren't talking about it directly. But with both eligible to play Sunday in Chicago, coach Pete Carroll said he hasn't seen any evidence of that pachyderm distracting his team.
"Whatever you're referring to is not an issue in our locker room," Carroll said. "We're playing football and going."
That is the Seahawks' challenge this week, looking past any big-picture uncertainty to focus on a game that may turn out to be the make-or-break moment of this season. The players' availability for this week's game isn't in question, but Seattle's playoff chances may hang in the balance.
Seattle is coming off a three-point loss in Miami that just might be the most disappointing defeat of the year. The Seahawks are playing on the road against the Bears, who at 8-3 have the third-best record in the NFC, and Seattle is doing it after reports that two of its best players are appealing violations of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
The Seahawks released a joint statement on behalf of Browner and Sherman, which said the pair wouldn't be making comments until there's a resolution to the process.
"To allow our focus to remain on football, during the appeal process we will refrain from any further public comments regarding this situation."
Sherman did say that he isn't concerned about assumptions that some people may have made.
"Not at all," he said, "because it happens like that in life. There are always misunderstandings and mishaps, and all you can do is continue to go about your job the same way you've been going about it and let everything play itself out."
The question is what happens in the meantime. At 6-5, Seattle faces a crucial game as they are straddling the fence when it comes to making the playoffs. Throw in the uncertainty regarding two of its best players, and there's a huge potential for distractions.
"We've got a very resilient team," said fullback Michael Robinson, one of Seattle's co-captains. "Those guys, they're great players, Pro Bowl-caliber players, and we expect them to handle themselves."
Robinson is Seattle's union representative, and he was dismayed the potential violations were made public before there was a chance at an appeal.
"It puts the players in a compromising situation," Robinson said.
That's true for the team, too, but Carroll emphasized that uncertainty is an inescapable part of the NFL. Teams must adjust to personnel changes all the time for a variety of reasons.
"We've talked about any issues that could come up," Carroll said. "Those issues are no different than everybody faces. Chicago had six guys hurt last week. How do you deal with that? You have all of those issues to deal with. You just have to take them on, face it up and go."
• Defensive tackle Red Bryant didn't practice Wednesday because of a foot injury, and his availability for Sunday's game is in doubt. If Bryant can't play, Alan Branch would move from defensive tackle to Bryant's spot at end with rookie Greg Scruggs starting at tackle.
• Linebacker Leroy Hill also did not practice because of an ankle injury.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com.
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