Former USC linebackers Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing were supposed to be leading their respective NFL defenses when the Green Bay Packers visit the Houston Texans on Sunday night. That won’t happen now, and Matthews is upset with the NFL.
Cushing left the Texans’ Monday night win against the New York Jets in the second quarter after suffering a knee injury on a block from behind. The Texans announced Tuesday that Cushing has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Before the severity of the injury was announced, Matthews took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the NFL’s lack of protection of defensive players.
“Where is the NFL’s protection on blocks below the waist like that on Cushing. Double standard,” Matthews tweeted, then adding, “If the NFL really wants to increase player safety, start protecting players on BOTH sides of the ball.”
Matthews, who has nearly 470,000 Twitter followers but rarely uses the social media tool, was commenting on a play in which Jets guard Matt Slauson appeared to roll up on Cushing on a hand-off to running back Bilal Powell. Cushing was moving in on the play when Slauson hit him low and from behind. The NFL penalizes linemen for chop blocks but not cut blocks, and the proximity of the play to the line of scrimmage also is a factor in making the entire issue a gray area – enough of a gray area to get an upcoming opponent to stand up for an old friend.