Texans' Cushing caught using PEDs
HOUSTON — Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing was suspended for four games yesterday for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year will miss the first four games of the upcoming season and be eligible to return during the week of Oct. 4. The Texans play Indianapolis, Washington, Dallas and Oakland during his suspension.
Cushing can participate in preseason practices and games.
"We were disappointed to learn that Brian has been suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season," Houston general manager Rick Smith said in a statement. "Brian is a productive member of our team and this is a significant loss, but we have to be prepared to win without him."
Cushing, the 15th overall pick in last year's draft out of Southern California, had 133 tackles in 2009. The Texans finished 9-7 last season for their first winning record thanks in part to the improvement of a young defense that features Cushing, star middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and 2006 top overall pick Mario Williams.
Veteran Kevin Bentley, who appeared in each game for Houston last season is Cushing's backup at outside linebacker.
Cushing was hounded by rumors of performance-enhancing drug use before he became a pro, but the Texans were undeterred. They said then they found no truth to those rumors in their draft preparations.
"I've passed every drug test out there and still have," Cushing said during his 2009 draft press conference. "I'm not that kind of guy."
SURGERY FOR ROOKIE
Indianapolis Colts rookie cornerback Kevin Thomas has a knee injury that will require surgery and could force him to miss the 2010 season.
The team said yesterday that Thomas hurt the knee during Sunday's rookie mini-camp, which was closed to the media.
Indianapolis drafted Thomas in the third round, No. 94 overall. The Southern Cal alum was expected to help fill the void left by Marlin Jackson, who signed with Philadelphia as an unrestricted free agent in March.
SIGN QB, LINEBACKER
The New York Giants have signed two undrafted free agents who attended last weekend's minicamp on a tryout basis.
The deals with Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner and Kentucky linebacker Micah Johnson were announced yesterday, the same day the team waived another undrafted quarterback — Dominic Randolph of Holy Cross — who they had signed after last month's NFL draft.
Johnson played in 49 games at Kentucky, registering 285 tackles (161 solo) and 3.5 sacks. He also intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown.
Skinner set 17 school records at Wake Forest, including attempts (1,349), completions (903), passing yards (9,762), completion percentage (.669), touchdown passes (60) and passing efficiency (136.9).
ALL-PRO SKIPS CAMP
Albert Haynesworth was absent again yesterday when the Washington Redskins opened their second voluntary minicamp at Ashburn, Va., under new coach Mike Shanahan.
The two-time All-Pro defensive tackle remains unhappy with the Redskins' switch to a 3-4 defense and would prefer to be traded. He has also irked Shanahan by working with his own trainer and staying away from all of the team's voluntary offseason conditioning sessions.
Haynesworth, who has been paid $32 million of the $41 million guaranteed in the contract he signed with the Redskins last year, stayed away from the first minicamp last month in hopes the team would trade him, possibly for draft picks. However, on the second day of the NFL draft, Shanahan said that "Haynesworth will not be traded."
Cardinals: Arizona signed fullback Charles Ali to a one-year contract. Ali played for the New York Sentinels of the UFL in 2009 before signing with the Baltimore Ravens last Nov. 24. He was inactive for two games before being released. The Ravens re-signed Ali at the end of last season but released him on April 28.
Titans: Bud Adams, owner of the Tennessee Titans, has joined with the NFL and the NFL Players Association in giving $400,000 to the American Red Cross and a Tennessee group to help the state recover from floods that killed at least 31 people in three states.