Texans linebacker Brian Cushing was suspended 10 games by the NFL on Wednesday for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. The ninth-year player, a defensive captain for Houston, will be eligible to return Nov. 28, after a game against the Ravens.
A lawyer for Cushing told ESPN that his client “is aware of the negative impact he has had on his team and most important his fans,” adding, “It is with the deepest remorse that he humbly apologizes to his fans, teammates and coaches.”
This is the second time Cushing has been suspended, following a four-game ban in 2010, also for PED use. That punishment put his 2009 defensive rookie of the year award in jeopardy, but he retained it after a second vote by an Associated Press panel.
Cushing, 30, is in the league’s concussion protocol after sustaining a brain injury during Houston’s season-opening loss to the Jaguars. Four other Texans suffered concussions in that game, and the team has already ruled out three players with different injuries for its Week 2 game against the Bengals, which takes place Thursday night in Cincinnati.
The 2009 draft’s 15th overall pick out of Southern Cal, Cushing has struggled to equal the promise he showed as a rookie. He has played in all 16 games just twice since then, and he has yet to match his first-season totals of 86 tackles and 10 passes defensed.
This is the second 10-game PED ban handed down by the NFL this season, with Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins receiving the first last week. Thirteen other players are serving shorter suspensions for violating that policy (per Spotrac), including Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin, who is carrying his over from the end of last season.
Cushing is in the fourth year of a six-year, $52.5 million contract extension he signed with Houston in 2013. According to his lawyer, the 6-3, 250-pound linebacker will not appeal the suspension.
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