Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has been suspended for 10 games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He will be eligible to return to Houston’s active roster on Nov. 28 – one day after the Texans (0-1) play the Ravens (1-0) in Baltimore on Monday Night Football.
This is the second time that Cushing, a first-round draft pick in 2009, has been suspended. He was suspended for four games in 2010 after testing positive for HCG, a fertility drug on the NFL’s banned-substances list.
Getting suspended once is bad enough; twice is beyond disappointing.
“I’ve known him since he was a rookie, I’ve covered him for nine years, Cushing is one of my all-time favorite players – and that includes the Oilers,” Houston Chronicle NFL writer John McClain said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “But disappointing, that’s a great way to put it.”
The suspension will cost Cushing, 30, roughly $4 million.
“That’s a lot of money,” McClain said. “Cushing has undergone more than 20 surgeries since he’s been here. Bill O’Brien always calls him the heart and soul of the defense.”
Cushing is in his ninth season in Houston. He recorded a career-high 114 tackles in 2011 and 110 in 2015. He had three tackles in Houston’s 29-7 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday.
“Brian was going to be out a while anyway (because) he’s got a concussion,” McClain said. “But he can play the last five games. Bob McNair is a very good owner. He doesn’t like payers getting in trouble and he backed Brian in 2010 when he tested positive for banned substances. This one, I don’t know. I think when he comes back for the last five games, it could be the last five games he plays for the Texans.”
As of now, Cushing will be eligible to play at Tennessee (Dec. 3), against San Francisco (Dec. 10), at Jacksonville (Dec. 17), against Pittsburgh (Dec. 25), and at Indianapolis (Dec. 31).
Scott Ferrall wonders if the Texans will cut Cushing upon his return, but McClain doesn’t think that will happen.
“I think when he comes back Nov. 28, I don’t think they’re going to cut him,” he said. “I think they will play those last five games. I could be wrong, but he’s done everything that the Texans have wanted him to do – other than test positive. He’s great in the community, he was one of their out-front guys on the Hurricane Relief Fund, he’s been big doing things with the military – he’s done everything the organization has wanted him to do off the field. So I don’t think they would just cut him, but I could be wrong. It might depend on how the guys who take his place play.”
We’ll find out Thursday night. The Texans play the Bengals (0-1) in Cincinnati at 8:25 p.m. ET.