HOUSTON — The Houston Texans have released veteran linebacker Brian Cushing.
Cushing, who was a first-round pick in 2009, is the franchise’s all-time leader in tackles with 664, but his career has been marked by two suspensions for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancers.
Cushing was suspended for the first four games of 2010 after testing positive for HCG, a fertility drug that is on the league’s banned substance list. Cushing had won 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year, an honor which was jeopardized by the suspension. He kept the award after a revote by The Associated Press’ awards panel.
His second suspension came in September and cost him 10 games. He appeared in five games last season and finished with 16 tackles and 1½ sacks.
Cushing has had several major injuries in his career and played 12 games combined in 2012 and 2013 because of knee injuries and a broken leg. He missed three games in 2016 because of a sprained knee ligament and sustained a concussion in Houston’s season opener against the Jaguars last season.
He had more than 100 tackles in three seasons, led by 133 in his rookie year, and is fifth in franchise history with 42 tackles for losses. He also had 13½ sacks, eight interceptions, 30 passes defended, 57 quarterback hits, nine forced fumbles and one safety in his nine seasons in Houston.