Saturday Lance Zierlein of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE wrote that since Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has returned from his PEDs suspension, he’s not been able to recapture the level of play that made him the NFL’s first and only two-time 2009 NFL defensive rookie of the year.
Zierlein on Cushing’s first four games back with Houston:
… drafting Brian Cushing who looks VERY average after his suspensions for banned substances. Multiple sources around the league have told me that they felt like the rumors of potential PED use surrounding Cushing had enough smoke behind it to keep them from taking him, but the Texans either didn’t have that info, didn’t believe it or chose to ignore it. He better jump back into Beast Mode or Mr. McNair is going to wonder if he was duped by the old bait-and-switch.
As noted by Gregg Rosenthal at ProFootballTalk.com, Zierlein’s analysis of Cushing soon caught the attention of the linebacker’s father, Frank Cushing.
Mr. Cushing took up the defense of his son against Zierlein with this entry in the comments section under Zierlein’s blog post:
Lance, I am Brian Cushing’s father and proud of it.
Do you still believe in BP, Enron, Wall Street, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and all the corporations that feed the American public like the NFL?
Do you know the NFL’s testing procedures? Do you know what happened at the appeal’s meeting in Indy? What was his score? Do you know the agreement for further testing and the scores?
Do you know that his nutrionist is the New York Jets nutrionist since college?
Amazing that you take one side and hang a clean cut kid!
Do you know that his score was a passing score 2 years ago and the NFL doctor didn’t know that the Lab Man from Ohio State (USC 38, OS 3)dropped the passing grade from 10 to 6 (-40%).
Do you know that one of the finest medical school’s in US tested him and stated that they found no indication he ever used steriods and/or performance enhancing drugs?
Do you know that he passed an ex-FBI lie detector test in Denver on this subject?
Do you know that the NFL blew off a 4 hour presentation by the former head of Houston medical school and the top HCG doctor in US, who stated Cushing was clean?
If you want the facts and the truth are home phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. We will be back in NJ from Thursday on!
Zierlein did indeed confirm that the phone number left in the comment belong to Cushing’s father.
Though well-intentioned, Frank Cushing didn’t answer to Zierlein’s primary point in the piece: That Cushing’s performance had fallen off this season.
That’s surprising, considering Papa Cushing could’ve said …
1) His son is playing a new position, weakside linebacker, for the first time in his career.
2) Texans All-Pro middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans suffered a season-ending injury during Cushing’s first game back. Cushing has since been given the added responsibility of calling Houston’s defensive plays.
3) The Texans have been depleted by multiple injuries at defensive end, limiting Houston’s pass rush and forcing Cushing to focus more on pass defense than flying around making plays.
4) Cushing tested positive for the substance that earned him the 2010 suspension early in the 2009 season. Subsequently he was subject to increased testing throught the 2009 season. If that banned substance really is the reason for his play falling off this season, why didn’t that also happen last year after he was caught using early on?
Father Cushing is missing the point in his defense of Zierlein’s criticism.
The debate whether Brian Cushing did something wrong is officially over, and Brian Cushing lost. The only thing that matters now is to find out whether the banned substance that he tested positive for was the reason for his high level of play.
Cushing’s position is such that his productivity shouldn’t always be measured in big plays, so the perception of his contribution to his team can sometimes be misconstrued. The best way to measure Cushing’s play going forward will be his role on the team. If Cushing is a liability to the Texans, the coaches will let us know soon enough.
So far, they haven’t.