Brian Cushing says he was suspended for using prescription drug

HOUSTON -- Houston Texans inside linebacker Brian Cushing said his 10-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substance policy stemmed from an unapproved prescription drug he was taking to help him with “things bothering me in this past offseason, most mentally.”

“I was getting a prescription medication that I probably should have been ... more careful with and I should have communicated with the league a lot better about,” Cushing said. “I take full responsibility for it, and [it's] something now I'm working with the league at taking again through their terms and through their doctors to OK it."

“The encouraging thing is there are other guys in the league that are allowed to take this. So that's the process we're in right now to hopefully get that done.”

Cushing said he took the prescription because of an “issue that I was trying to better myself with,” noting that he is concerned after seeing what former NFL players have gone through. “As I've gotten older, there's been a lot of things that I've been worrisome about especially with a lot of the other players that have played and retired and kind of the situations and conditions they're in,” Cushing said.

Cushing was suspended in Week 2 for the violation and was added to the Texans’ active roster this week. Head coach Bill O’Brien said he expects Cushing to play on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, and that the inside linebacker would not be on a “pitch count.”

The veteran linebacker choked up when asked how hard it was to be away for the team while serving his suspension.

“[It’s] terrible,” Cushing said. “The worst part is just watching guys and knowing you can't help. This is everything I love doing. So yeah, it hurt a lot."

Cushing was suspended for four games in 2009 for testing positive for HCG, a drug on the league's banned substance list. At the time, Cushing said he never took the drug and had no idea how it got into his body.

The Texans re-signed Cushing to a six-year contract in 2014, but he is not owed any guaranteed money after the 2017 season. Cushing said he hopes to "continue to play for a good amount more," but isn't letting himself worry about his future in Houston or the NFL.

“I would like to play football, but at the same time, I can’t worry about that," Cushing said. "That’s a decision that’s out of my hands. I can play the best football I possibly can and leave that decision up to them. What’s done is done and [I] can’t worry too much about that past. I just have to continue to move forward and, like I said, play the best football I can for this team.”