Brian Cushing Remains Defensive Rookie Of Year After Revote
The Houston Texans' linebacker retained the award after a revote by The Associated Press was ordered following news that Cushing had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs -- the NFL suspended him for the first four games of the 2010 season, per the league's drug policy.
Cushing got 18 votes in the do-over from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. He received 39 of the 50 votes during the first balloting last January.
Safety Jairus Byrd of Buffalo received 13 votes in the revote; Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews got 10. Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo earned three votes and St. Louis linebacker James Laurinaitis one. Byrd was also second in the original vote, followed by Matthews and Orakpo, while Laurainitis didn't get a vote.
The AP made the decision to hold a new ballot this week after Cushing's suspension was announced last week. Cushing tested positive last September for the substance hCG, which is said to increase testosterone in the body and can be used as a steroid-masking agent. The positive test wasn't announced until last week, after Cushing's appeal to the league was rejected by commissioner Roger Goodell.
The revote itself became the subject of controversy, especially on social media. Some fans and voters questioned the decision; others pushed candidates; and some voters debated openly with fans over whether the revote should be held.
The voters themselves clearly were split.
"I voted for Cushing as defensive rookie of the year the first time. I have no problem voting him defensive rookie of the year the second time,'' John McClain of the Houston Chronicle wrote in an e-mail to voters before the balloting.
McClain, a respected veteran who also is a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee, went on to say that he had also voted for Julius Peppers as Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2002 knowing he'd been suspected of drug use, and this year for Minnesota's Kevin Williams at defensive tackle on the All-Pro team knowing that he faced suspension in the Starcaps case.
Cushing's spot on the All-Pro second team also went to revote. The Texans linebacker did not retain that honor, dropping from the five votes he received in January to one vote this time around. There was no immediate word about who took his place on the All-Pro roster.