There have been questions looming over Texans Linebacker, Brian Cushing, since he was in high school. During his time as a recruit and during his college years at USC, message boards and blogs would become flooded with comments about his alleged steroid use. People would claim to know about “the circles” that Cushing had been a part of before and during college, suggesting that he definitely had access to performance enhancing drugs. It now seems as though all of these rumors have finally come to light, as Brian Cushing has earned a four game ban for violating the NFL’s steroid policy. Many people aren’t surprised about the news, however, it is going to be interesting to see how all of Cushing’s backers will try and defend him now.
While there were whispers about Cushing using steroids during his prep years, they were never widely discussed until he arrived at USC. Numerous people in his home town in New Jersey had seen him transform into a star college prospect, but most simply credited his work ethic and his trainer as of 2003, Joe DeFranco. While it is well known that DeFranco’s gym promotes an anti-steroid policy, critics of the linebacker still jumped at the opportunity to direct steroid related accusations toward both the gym and Cushing himself.
The most popular ammunition used against Cushing during his time at USC was a side-by-side photo showing him looking both undersized at practice and freakishly huge after a workout. Supporters claimed that the picture’s portrayal of Cushing was unfair because of the necessary injury related rest he took as a freshman, and because of the simple fact that blood is pumped into your muscles making you appear much bigger after lifting weights. The pictures, accusations and the message board battles between his proponents and detractors earned a fair amount of negative attention, but NFL coaches couldn’t deny his talent and intensity on the field.
During the NFL scouting combine in 2009, an article surfaced regarding both Cushing and his former teammate, Clay Matthews, that suggested both of these players had tested positive for steroids at the event. While this information turned out to be false, the rumor mill surrounding the potential first round draft pick’s involvement with performance enhancing drugs began to churn again. Negativity and controversy surrounded his name, but the Houston Texans decided to draft him in the first round anyway.
After a stellar rookie season lining up next to DeMeco Ryans, Cushing had managed to solidify his spot as part of one of the best and most underrated “one-two punch” linebacker combinations in the NFL. Talk regarding the 262 pounder shifted from potential performance enhancing drug user to NFL superstar; until now.
Unfortunately for the Texans, Cushing’s four game suspension comes during a stretch where they will play both the Colts and the Cowboys; games where Cushing will be sorely missed on defense. With the news of his potential use of steroids now coming from reputable media outlets, many critics that have followed Cushing since high school will no doubt be saying, “I told you so…”
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