By Bill Coats
08/29/2007 4:23 pm

This Fakhir Brown business is getting stranger by the day. Literally.

On Tuesday, Brown told a gathering of reporters at Rams Park that he still was awaiting word on his appeal of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

“I’m just waiting to have my meeting with the commissioner,” Brown said. He added that he hoped to get together with Roger Goodell “before the regular season starts, so at least I would know if I’ll be able to play the first game or if I’ll be suspended.”

Trouble is, it’s been known for six weeks that Brown would, indeed, be banned from Aug. 30 to Oct. 1 at the earliest. The NFL announced the suspension July 13. And as league spokesman Greg Aiello explained, the league doesn’t make suspensions public until the appeal process has been exhausted.

“So, I don’t understand what he’s talking about,” Aiello told the Post-Dispatch later Tuesday. “There’s nothing left to appeal.”

Aiello said he didn’t know whether Brown had appealed, but promised the check into it. On Wednesday, he reported that, yes, an appeal was filed. It was turned down and the suspension was announced.

So, why didn’t Brown know this as recently as Tuesday? Or, did he?

Has a head-scratching failure of communication has occurred? Didn’t Brown’s agent, Ted Marchibroda, know what was going on? When reached Tuesday, Marchibroda adamantly declined to discuss any aspects of the case.

Couldn’t Rams front-office officials have cleared up the situation for Brown, who a month ago — more than two weeks after the NFL’s announcement — expressed publicly that his appeal hadn’t been heard?

Or, have the facts of the case been twisted, inadvertently or otherwise? On July 30, Brown told the P-D that he was sanctioned for missing a drug test. Brown said he was working at his youth football camp early that month in Mansfield, La., when NFL drug testers arrived at his designated offseason testing address in nearby Shreveport.

“I was out of town,” Brown said then. “Things just got mixed up. . . . It’s just a misunderstanding.”

Here’s the problem with that explanation: If he’d been absent for a drug test on any date in July, was suspended, appealed, was denied, and then the league made an announcement July 13 . . . well, it doesn’t add up. There simply wouldn’t have been enough time for the process to run its course.

Multiple sources have confirmed to the P-D that Brown was suspended for refusing to be tested. More than one source indicated that Brown skipped several tests, not just one.

Whatever the real story is, this much is known: Brown is suspended for the first four games of the regular season, and that isn’t going to change.

***

Notes and quotes:

>>During his seven seasons in KC, Dante Hall had opportunities to hoist the Governor’s Cup after a victory over the Rams. “I’ve held it up. A couple of times,” Hall said. Asked if he took it on a personal tour, a la hockey’s Stanley Cup, Hall laughed and said, “Naw, you see it for about five minutes and then you don’t see it again.”

>>Scott Linehan is aware that the Rams could lose a coveted young receiver after Saturday’s final cuts. “That’s the gamble,” he said. “Ultimately, we’re probably going to have to expose a player that we may want to keep on the practice squad but maybe aren’t going to be able to.” Any team can sign a player off another’s practice squad, but must put him on the 53-man active roster.

>>After Thursday night’s preseason finale vs. the Chiefs, practice will resume Saturday. Then the players will have two days off before preparation begins Tuesday for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener vs. Carolina.

All for now…