Brian Cushing's Suspension: What It Means for Clay Matthews

Michael AkelsonCorrespondent IMay 10, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Linebacker Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Packers  51-45 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Brian Cushing was destined for greatness.

After just one full season as an NFL player, Texans outside linebacker Brian Cushing was looking like the NFL's next great linebacker.

He recorded 113 total tackles, two forced fumbles and four interceptions in his rookie season.

Not a bad start, huh?

Cushing won Defensive Rookie of the Year Honors by a landslide. He amassed 39 of a possible 50 first place votes.

However, Cushing has been suspended for this upcoming season for breaking the NFL's steroid policy.

The Associated Press has shown no signs of stripping Cushing of his Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, but this is not a closed case by any means.

If Cushing were forced too give back his mantle's new best friend, what would that mean for Green Bay's Clay Matthews?

Matthews also showed great promise as a rookie last season as he burst on the scene to collect 10 sacks and a Pro Bowl birth.

If the NFL were to take this prestigious honor from Cushing one of three outcomes would happen (and the affect they would have on Matthews):

1) The trophy would go un-awarded

Obviously, Matthews would not win the award in this situation.

2) The award would be taken from Cushing and given to the player who placed second in voting last season.

Matthews would not get the award in this situation either (Jarius Byrd received six first place votes, as opposed to Matthew's three).

3) The award would be taken from Cushing, and the 39 voters who selected Cushing would re-vote to determine the new 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year

In this situation, Matthews would have a chance at adding a new trophy to his shelf, but it is the most unlikely of the three to occur.

Matthews would also have to beat out Jarius Byrd and Brian Orakpo in this situation (Byrd got six votes, Matthews got three, and Orakpo received two).

The odds are against Clay Matthews to become the 2009 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, but it is certainly possible.


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