That’s where the AFC West comes in.
San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman won the award that year. During the next year, Merriman was suspended four games for using a banned substance.
Thus, should there be a re-vote to give 2005 runner-up Lofa Tatupu a chance to win the award? With all due respect to the Seattle linebacker, no way.
That award was Merriman’s. There is a gigantic difference between Merriman’s situation and Cushing’s. Merriman tested positive well into his second season. Cushing tested positive during his rookie season. Unless proven otherwise, Merriman’s accomplishments of his rookie season have to be considered unsullied. It would be purely speculative to say Merriman used a banned substance the year before he was caught.
That’s why there is little chance The Associated Press will dig back five years to re-open the Merriman case. The AP didn’t wait long to take another look at Cushing’s case. It would have done the same to Merriman if it were relevant.