Brian Cushing insists the failed drug test that led to his four-game suspension was for a non-steroidal banned substance, the Texans linebacker told FOXSports.com Saturday.
Cushing said he failed a random drug test and was confident he would win his appeal. That did not turn out to be the case. He was suspended for four games on Friday for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year will miss the first four games of the upcoming season and be eligible to return during the week of Oct. 4. The Texans play Indianapolis, Washington, Dallas and Oakland during his suspension.
Cushing can participate in preseason practices and games.
"We were disappointed to learn that Brian has been suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season,'' Houston general manager Rick Smith said in a statement. "Brian is a productive member of our team and this is a significant loss, but we have to be prepared to win without him.''
Cushing, the 15th overall pick in last year's draft out of Southern California, had 133 tackles in 2009. The Texans finished 9-7 last season for their first winning record thanks in part to the improvement of a young defense that features Cushing, star middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and 2006 top overall pick Mario Williams.
Veteran Kevin Bentley, who appeared in each game for Houston last season but never started, is Cushing's backup at outside linebacker.
Cushing was hounded by rumors of performance-enhancing drug use before he became a pro, but the Texans were undeterred. They said then they found no truth to those rumors in their draft preparations.
Cushing began training in February with MMAthletics, a program run by FOX Sports NFL Sunday insider Jay Glazer and mixed martial arts legend Randy Couture. Glazer made the following statement with regard to Cushing:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.