On The Juice: NFL’s Brian Cushing Suspended 10 Games Without Pay

Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has been suspended 10 games without pay for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy…to the surprise of absolutely no one.

Cushing, entertaining as he is, has long been linked with performance enhancing drugs. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2010 NFL season after earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2009 for a test that revealed elevated levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). What’s that, you ask? Well, it’s used after an anabolic steroid cycle to counteract nut shrinkage and normalize testosterone production.

It’s the same thing 12-time MLB All-Star Manny Ramirez got a 50-game suspension for in 2009. Like Cushing, Ramirez is known for his oversized personality. Whether that’s juice-related or just Manny being Manny — we’ll never know. But with Cushing, well, you be the judge:

Note he doesn’t have his helmet on when he goes in for the last head-butt.

Cushing’s suspension, 10 games without pay, is so severe because it’s his second doping violation in his NFL career. Houston will be dry by the time Cushing takes the field again. This has to rival LaRon Landry (suspended indefinitely by the NFL in 2015 after multiple PED violations) for the league’s least surprising suspension.

With Cushing out until Week 12, the Texans will have to rely on guys like Dylan Cole, Zach Cunningham, and Brian Peters. That said, the Texans’ D, in theory, should still be robust. They do still have three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney in that front seven.

Here’s the hit that cemented Clowney as 2014’s consensus first overall pick before the Texans actually drafted him:

With Houston still reeling from Hurricane Harvey, the last thing the city needs is one of its football team’s best players to be slapped with a 10-game ban, but that’s on Cushing. Is anyone really surprised?

The signs have been there since his days at USC, and while the NFL is full of people on steroids, but most are just a little more discreet than Brian Cushing.