Cushing denies taking banned substances

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Texans linebacker Brian Cushing met with the media on Thursday to address his recent four-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Cushing denied that he took a banned substance and expressed disappointment with the failed drug test and ensuing suspension.

"I want to make it known that I did not inject or ingest any illegal substances that would enhance my performance," Cushing said. "My only option was to appeal the decision... Knowing I did not do anything wrong, I have medical concerns about the test and how low the levels were that produced a positive test. Bound by the decision of the league, I regret the decision it presents to the Texans organization, my teammates, the fans and my family."

In front of more than 25 reporters at Reliant Stadium, Cushing said that he did test positive for human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), as previously reported. But the 23-year-old linebacker said that he's unsure of how the substance got into his body.

"Personally, I know that I didn't ingest or inject anything, and the fact that my options were that I was either injecting or I had a tumor, as I was told by some sources, I played the whole season thinking I had tumors," he said.

Cushing appealed the league's suspenion in February, an appeal that was denied last Friday. He said that he does not plan to take legal action against the league or pursue the appeal any further.

"Right now, I'm concerned about myself," Cushing said. "I'm concerned about my health, and that's the most important thing right now. I have to take care of my situation and find out why this is happening from a health standpoint and also from a prevention standpoint so that it doesn't happen again."

{QUOTE}Cushing said he only uses natural supplements approved by the Texans and that he's very careful about what he puts into his body.

"I wouldn't do anything to deface the National Football League or the game of football," he said. "I would never do anything to cheat this game, and that's the perception factor that really hurts me is when people think that that's something that I would do."

Texans coach Gary Kubiak, general manager Rick Smith, linebackers coach Johnny Holland and linebacker DeMeco Ryans were seated in the front row of the press conference to support Cushing.

After Cushing spoke to the media for about 10 minutes, Ryans stepped up to the podium to answer several questions about his teammate.

"I believe him," Ryans said. "Cushing is a hard-working guy. There's nobody that works as hard as Cush and is as competitive as he is. I don't think he would cheat the game the way people are calling him a cheater. I don't think that Cushing is that type of person."

Ryans, the 2006 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, said that he was happy to see Cushing receive the award again on Wednesday. Cushing was named rookie of the year in January after leading the Texans with 133 tackles and recording four sacks and four interceptions in 2009, but the AP re-voted this week in light of Cushing's suspenion.

"He deserved it," Ryans said. "He was the best rookie defensive player there was, and he went out and proved that. And coming in this year after he's off those four games, I don't see any drop-off on what Cushing is going to bring to us. You'll see that same level of play, that same intensity when he comes back next year."

Follow Nick Scurfield on Twitter at *twitter.com/NickScurfield or find him on the "I'm A Texan Club" at imatexan.com/profiles/Nick_Scurf/.*

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