Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has been suspended for 10 games by the NFL for violating the league’s performance enhancers policy.
It’s the second time Cushing has been suspended; he missed four games in 2010 under the same policy, testing positive for a fertility drug. Cushing had won 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year, an honor which was jeopardized by the suspension. He kept the award after a revote by The Associated Press’ awards panel.
Currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol after being injured in Houston’s opening loss to Jacksonville, Cushing will be eligible to return on Nov. 28.
Cushing has had a checkered career since his sensational rookie season. Injuries curtailed the 2012 and ‘13 seasons, when he got into a total of 12 games. He’s never come close to matching his first-year production of 86 tackles, 47 assists, four sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and 10 passes defensed.
The 2009 defensive rookie revote came after Cushing tested positive for HCG, a fertility drug that is on the NFL’s banned substance list. He had one positive test from a urine sample taken in September 2009, then subsequently tested negative several times.
But when his suspension was announced the following May, the AP called for another ballot. Cushing didn’t receive anywhere near the 39 votes of his previous landslide victory, but the 18 he got were enough to reclaim the honor.
In the revote, Cushing finished five votes ahead of then-Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd. Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews III got 12, then-Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo earned three votes, and then-St. Louis linebacker James Laurinaitis got one.
Three voters abstained.
The 30-year-old Cushing would not have suited up in Thursday night’s game at Cincinnati because of his concussion. Now, the Texans must wait two more months for his return.