Brian Cushing is set to miss the majority of his team’s games this season. And it’s not due to injury.
The NFL suspended the Houston Texans linebacker for ten games due to a positive test for performance enhancing drugs. Per league policy, a ten-game ban is for testing positive a second time. Cushing initially served a four-game PED related suspension in 2010.
Texans LB Brian Cushing suspended without pay for team’s next 10 games for violating NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 13, 2017
Houston Texans Linebacker Brian Cushing Suspended Ten Games
The 30-year-old made a minimal impact in the Texans season opener. He finished with three tackles and neither a sack nor a tackle for loss in the team’s 29-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Due to the suspension, Cushing won’t be able to play until December 3rd when Houston faces the Tennessee Titans on the road.
Cushing burst onto the scene after the Texans drafted him 15th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. His rookie season saw him lead the team with four interceptions while his two forced fumbles ended up tying with four other players for the team lead. He also finished second in solo tackles (86) and pass breakups (10). As a result, he earned defensive rookie of the year honors.
But the following off-season, Cushing tested positive for a banned substance for the first time. That came after rumors of his PED use during the pre-draft process the following year, even though he denied such activities. Cushing appealed the four-game suspension, with the league later upholding it.
The nine-year veteran is now in a precarious position as it relates to PED related offenses. A third violation of the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances would result in a suspension of at least two years.
Houston’s week two matchup comes early as the team plays the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football. It’s a game between two teams looking to rebound after decisive home losses in their respective season openers. Kickoff from Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH takes place at 8:25 PM ET.