Texans owner knew Cushing had 'issue'
Houston Texans owner Robert McNair said he knew during the 2009 season that linebacker Brian Cushing had "an issue" with the NFL, but had no details from the league of what it concerned.
Cushing was suspended by the league last week for violating its steroid policy. Although Cushing admitted taking a non-steroid banned substance, it is still considered performance-enhancing by the league. He did not identify the substance he took.
Cushing was voted The Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at the end of the season — part of the AP's annual awards honoring outstanding on-field performance by players. As a result of the penalty and admission, the AP is taking a revote for the defensive rookie award plus All-Pro outside linebacker. Cushing received five votes in that category and made the second team. He is still among the nominees in the revote.
McNair criticized the suspension and appeal process because, he said, it doesn't provide enough information to the team.
"The club is left completely out of the loop on that," McNair said. "We're not even notified, it's the league and the player and the players' union. All we know is what's been announced at this point in time."
Cushing is suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2010 season, even though he said he took the substance in September, the first month of the 2009 schedule. He appealed the ban and a final decision was handed down last week.
FORMER FIRST-ROUND PICKS SWAPPED
The Cowboys and Rams have swapped underachieving former first-round picks, with offensive tackle Alex Barron going to Dallas and linebacker Bobby Carpenter headed for St. Louis.
Carpenter made only two starts in four seasons for the Cowboys, one in the regular season and one in the playoffs, and was a backup inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense last season. The Rams have a 4-3 defense and the 250-pound Carpenter could start alongside fellow Ohio State products James Laurinaitis, a second-round pick last year, and Na'il Diggs.
The 6-foot-7, 315-pound Barron played in 76 games for St. Louis, all but two of them starts.
Barron drew five holding calls and 14 penalties last season, most in the league by an offensive lineman, according to STATS. The service said Barron also is the most frequently whistled offensive lineman since 2005 with 73 penalties, 23 more than Flozell Adams, who's next on the list.
Barron was benched for disciplinary reasons in the second half of a loss to the 49ers last October.
RYAN, 2 PLAYERS IN WEIGHT-LOSS CONTEST
The Rex Ryan weight-loss challenge is on.
The husky New York Jets coach, who underwent lap-band surgery two months ago, began a contest yesterday with defensive tackle Kris Jenkins and offensive tackle Damien Woody to see who can lose the most weight by July 30 — the day before the team reports for camp in Cortland.
"I just want to lose one more pound than those two," Ryan told ESPN.
Ryan said he has lost about 40 pounds since his procedure and is down to 311, but wants to reach 275.
Jenkins, listed at 360 pounds, is recovering from surgery after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last season.
Woody is listed at 330, although official starting weights weren't announced.
EX-GIANTS SAFETY C.C. BROWN SIGNS
The Detroit Lions have signed safety C.C. Brown.
Brown might get a chance to start next to safety Louis Delmas and likely will help on special teams. He started seven games and played in 16 last year for the New York Giants.