Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing said he was suspended 10 games for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy because he didn't ask the NFL for permission to take a "substance intended to help mental health issues."
Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported the news Wednesday, noting Cushing didn't specify what the substance was but did stress the punishment wasn't for taking Adderall.
"There was a good amount of things bothering me in this past offseason, most mentally," Cushing said. "I was given a prescription medication that I probably should have been more careful with and communicated with the league better about."
Wilson noted Cushing is set to return from his second suspension, with the first coming in 2010 for what was then reported as a positive test for a fertility drug.
"You build your entire career back up," Cushing said of another punishment, per Wilson. "There's a massive range of things you can test positive for. It's extremely frustrating. I've been tested hundreds of times during my career. For it to happen again, I should have communicated with the league and been more careful."
Cushing provides a much-needed boost for a defense that already lost two of its primary cogs in defensive lineman J.J. Watt and linebacker Whitney Mercilus to season-ending injuries.
The USC product is a physical presence at the second level with three seasons of more than 100 tackles, a Pro Bowl appearance and the 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year on his resume.
While he will help, this is shaping up to be a lost season for the 4-8 Texans. They have difficult games remaining on their schedule against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers and will have to win their final four contests just to reach .500.
Still, Cushing's return gives him an opportunity to prove himself on the field once again as a 30-year-old linebacker with multiple suspensions in his past.