Texans SLB Brian Cushing will be suspended for the first four games of the 2010 regular season for violating the NFL's steroid policy, ESPN.com reported Friday. According to ESPN.com, Cushing appealed the violation in February but learned Friday his appeal had been denied.
Cushing, 23, earned Pro Bowl honors and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year by Pro Football Weekly and the Professional Football Writers of America after a stellar first NFL season in 2009. Cushing notched 133 tackles, defended 10 passes, picked off four passes and notched four sacks. The 6-3, 260-pound former USC star helped the Texans' defense make an impressive turnaround in the final three months of the season after it struggled early.
In Cushing's absence, the Texans could move WLB Zac Diles to the strong side. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Diles has played the position before and has 20 career starts to his credit. Kevin Bentley is another potential option on the strong side.
Third-year LB Xavier Adibi could move into the starting lineup on the weak side if Diles moves into Cushing's spot. Rookie Darryl Sharpton can also play on the weak side.
The Texans' first four games are vs. Indianapolis (Sept. 12), at Washington (Sept. 19), vs. Dallas (Sept. 26) and at Oakland (Oct. 3).
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