The Houston Texans will be without a key member of their defense for a significant portion of the 2017 season, as it was announced Wednesday that starting inside linebacker Brian Cushing has been suspended 10 games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
“Brian Cushing of the Houston Texans has been suspended without pay for the team’s next 10 games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances,” the league wrote in a statement.
“Cushing’s suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to return to the Texans’ active roster on Tuesday, November 28 following the team’s November 27 game against the Baltimore Ravens.”
This marks the second time Cushing has been flagged by the NFL for PEDs, coming seven years after his first failed test.
In his ninth season out of USC, Brian Cushing accounted for three combined tackles in Houston’s 29-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday. Cushing left the game with a concussion, and it was reported that the linebacker could miss Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals as a result of the injury.
Cushing made 13 starts for the Texans last season, tallying 65 combined tackles. He’s surpassed the 100 tackle mark three times in his career, with his rookie season of 2009 (133 combined tackles) being Cushing’s most productive campaign as a professional. During that season Cushing also tallied four sacks and four interceptions.
As of Tuesday Cushing was still listed as the team’s starting MIKE linebacker, but with his suspension Dylan Cole will likely slide into that role. Cole, in his rookie season out of Missouri State, was signed by the Texans as an un-drafted free agent in May and did not appear in Sunday’s season opener.