Brian Cushing is a Middle Linebacker for the Houston Texans, who was drafted in the first round of the 2009 draft out of USC. He was drafted 15th overall by the Texans that year, and he went on to have one of the best rookie seasons by a defensive player in NFL history. Cushing finished his rookie season with 133 total tackles, 4 sacks, 4 interceptions, 10 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles. Cushing was a master at batting down balls before J.J. Watt came to Houston. In his rookie year, Cushing was selected to the 2010 Pro Bowl as a starter, along with 2 other rookies to make the Pro Bowl in their first year.
Cushing went on to win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010 and immediately become a fan favorite in Houston. However, just before the start of training camp before the 2010 season, it was reported and confirmed that Brian Cushing was suspended for the first 4 games of the 2010 season after testing positive for a banned substance in the NFL and violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. This was a major blow to Cushing and set him back for a bit, but he rebounded from that suspension and came back strong again that year.
During the 2012 season, during an early-season game against the Jets on a Monday night in early October, Cushing left the game with a knee injury. After they did tests on the injury, it turned out to be a torn ACL and Cushing was placed on IR, cutting his 2012 season very short. Cushing came back in 2013, and signed a big extension with the Texans, as they gave him a 6-year deal worth $58.6 million, $31 million of it guaranteed! Sadly, in that same 2013 season in a late October game against the Chiefs, Cushing broke his fibula and fibular collateral ligament and was out for the season again due to injury.
Coming back from the 2012 and 2013 injury-plagued seasons, Cushing was decent in 2014. He recorded 110 tackles in 2015, bouncing back from the injuries he sustained early in his career. Cushing has still been a leader on the defense since his rookie season and even his injury seasons after his rookie season. However, the Texans have added depth to the position at Linebacker with drafting Whitney Mercilus and specifically another middle Linebacker, Benardrick McKinney, a couple years removed after drafting Cushing in 2009. When healthy and playing, Cushing has helped both those guys a lot, but you can tell now that the Texans’ Defense is going to be run mainly by J.J. and McKinney along with Mercilus. Cushing is on the back end of his career as he is 30 years old, all these injuries are adding up, and what I’m about to get into next.
On September 13, 2017, it was reported by the NFL and confirmed by the Houston Texans that Brain Cushing was suspended 10 games after testing positive again for a banned substance in the NFL and violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Since this was his second offense, he received a 10 game suspension without pay as his punishment. If Cushing were to test positive again for the third time, he will be suspended for 2 years or thrown out of the league. So that is my question, what is going to happen to Brian Cushing? A second positive test, despite what he says and claims isn’t true, he was caught twice. It’s just sad, as a fan, to see it happen again because I know how loved Cushing is in Houston and he has been a Defensive Captain for years. McKinney and rookie Zach Cunningham, as well as undrafted rookie free agent Dylan Coe, will lock down the middle without Cushing. while he is out and serving his suspension.
When Cushing comes back, is he going to play or start? What is going to happen to Cushing this off-season after all of this is over and the season is over? The Texans are very strict with having their players be very disciplined and being very professional as they don’t have many off-field issues with their guys. Hold-outs are bound to happen because the NFL is a business, but the Texans really have laid-back stars on their team that do right and don’t stay in the headlines for bad reasons. Cushing being caught twice for PEDs, or whatever he claims it wasn’t, that in itself is going to make Rick Smith and the ownership really evaluate if Cushing is worth keeping or not. I honestly feel Cushing will be let go off in the off-season, if not traded. It’s sad because Cushing has meant a lot to the Texans over the years, but as the second violation looms in the darkness, we honestly don’t know what’s going to happen to Brian Cushing.