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CB Brown says he was suspended for missed test, not failure

ST. LOUIS (AP) -St. Louis Rams cornerback Fakhir Brown said Monday he was suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy because he accidentally missed a drug test and is appealing the penalty.

Brown, who started 14 games last season, was suspended earlier this month for the first four games of the season. He said a meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has not been scheduled.

"I really don't know what's going to happen," Brown said. "Right now I'm just waiting to talk to the commissioner. You never know how things are going right now."

Brown was placed in the program after a positive drug test earlier in his career and thus is subject to random testing. He must contact the NFL whenever he leaves what he designates as his testing site, and said he was at his football camp in Mansfield, La., instead of his hometown in Shreveport, La., about 15 minutes away, when he missed a test earlier this month.

The NFL considers a missed test a failure. Brown blamed it on new personnel working for the NFL "just doing what they're told."

"I was out of town and things just got mixed up," Brown said. "It's just a misunderstanding, and things like that."

In the meantime, the Rams are trying to give Brown at least some of the practice reps. Ron Bartell, a second-round pick in 2005, is likely to take over the starting job at the start of the season.

"We get a lot of repetitions so you can get Fakhir in, getting the reps he's going to need," coach Scott Linehan said. "He's going to be playing a lot in the preseason."

Brown appears to ready to deal with the suspension.

"They're letting me get a few reps in here and there, but it's not enough," Brown said. "I'm going to have to do a little extra running and hopefully just be in shape and be ready once I get back.

"It's been a long time going into a camp knowing I wasn't going to able to play, so it's kind of difficult."

Whatever happens, he'll handle it.

"That's just how life is," Brown said. "Sometimes when you're in the right you get accused for doing something wrong and sometimes when you're wrong you can get away it."

Brown signed a five-year, $12 million free agent contract with the Rams in March 2006 after starting 25 games in four seasons with the Saints. He's not particularly worried that his absence could cost him his job on a longterm basis in addition to roughly a quarter of his base salary of around $1 million this year.

"Well, you know, that's just how it is," he said. "If you're not in camp working out with the first team you can get your job taken away."

Notes: LB Chris Draft had more medical tests to evaluate breathing difficulties that landed him in a hopsital for two days. Linehan believes the problem is asthma or an allergy and expects Draft to resume practicing soon. ... TE Joe Klopfenstein had a minor hamstring injury in practice Sunday night but isn't expected to be out long. ... LB Tim McGarigle is expected to be out a week with a hamstring injury.

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