Suspended 4 games
Texans linebacker Brian Cushing tested positive for HCG, a fertility drug that is on the NFL’s banned substance list.
A person familiar with Cushing’s case told the Associated Press yesterday that Cushing had one positive test last September, then subsequently tested negative several times. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the test results were supposed to remain confidential.
“He had one low-level positive test for HCG in September, and then every test after that was negative,’’ the person said. “He has said he has no idea where the positive test came from.’’
The NFL has suspended Cushing for the first four games of the season. He won the AP’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honor in January for outstanding on-field performance. Now, the AP is taking a revote for the award, as well as All-Pro outside linebacker because Cushing made the second team.
ESPN first reported the banned substance was human chorionic gonadotropin, which is widely taken by steroid users to help restart natural testosterone production. HCG can mitigate the side effects of ending a cycle of drugs. It’s also used to induce ovulation and treat ovarian disorders in women.
In 2009, Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez was suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games for testing positive for HCG.
Cushing, a first-round draft pick out of Southern California, was a runaway winner for the rookie award in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. He received 39 votes, easily beating Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd, who had six.
Cushing is suspended without pay until Oct. 4, although he can participate in offseason workouts, training camp, and preseason games.
Also, a person familiar with the negotiations said the Texans have agreed to a deal with free agent linebacker Danny Clark.
Clark, 33, who spent the last two seasons with the Giants, played for the Texans in 2007. The 10-year veteran’s best seasons came with the Raiders, for whom he had more than 110 tackles in both 2004 and 2005.
Sweed was waived after he was hurt during a May 2 minicamp practice. He was placed on the reserve/injury list after clearing waivers.
Sweed, a second-round draft pick from Texas in 2008, missed the final two games of last season for personal reasons. He finished the season with one catch.
To replace Sweed, the Steelers signed wide receiver Isaiah Williams, who signed with Baltimore as an undrafted rookie last year but was cut before the season began.
Also, the Steelers resume voluntary offseason workouts next week, but it’s unclear whether suspended quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be allowed to participate.
On April 21, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended the two-time Super Bowl winner for the first six games of the season and also ordered him to undergo a behavioral evaluation following a March incident in which a 20-year-old college student accused him of sexual assault in Milledgeville, Ga. The case will not be prosecuted.
Jones fully participated in a voluntary team workout with coaches, going through defensive drills and getting onto the field for some seven-on-seven plays. It was his first chance to meet new teammates since he agreed to a two-year deal last week.
Then, he thanked God, owner Mike Brown, coaches, and the city for giving him a chance after he was out of football for a year.
“To gain you guys’ trust is not going to come overnight,’’ Jones said. “It’s going to take time.’’