Houston Texans starting OLT Duane Brown has been suspended four games by the NFL, two sources told FOXSports.com.
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The NFL later announced that Brown has been suspended without pay for four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.
“We are disappointed that Duane Brown has been suspended. This is a significant blow to our team. Our players have to understand that they are responsible for what goes into their bodies and that they take risks anytime they use a supplement not approved by the NFL,” Texans GM Rick Smith said. “Our head athletic trainer, head strength and conditioning coach as well as our team nutritionist have had many meetings and presentations constantly reminding our players about the dangers of the supplemental industry and risks associated with taking non-approved products.
(Head coach) Gary (Kubiak) and our coaches are game planning for Dallas and he will be available for comment tomorrow after practice. I am confident in our coaches and our players that we will work through this adversity and continue to play winning football.”
Brown’s suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to return to the Texans’ active roster on Monday, October 18 following the team’s October 17 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“First off, I want to personally apologize to Mr. McNair, Coach Kubiak and the rest of the coaching staff, my teammates, family and to all the great and loyal Texans fans,” Brown said. “I take full responsibility for putting myself in this situation. I unknowingly took a supplement tainted with a banned substance and now have to deal with the consequences. After reviewing the appeal process and speaking with legal counsel, I have decided not to appeal my suspension. I understand the rules and accept my punishment.
I vow to learn from this mistake and be a better player and teammate because of it.”
Backup OT Rashad Butler is expected to fill in for Brown. The team was expected to re-sign OT Ephraim Salaam, according to his marketing company.
Brown was selected in the first-round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Texans. Brown has started 34 straight games since being drafted.
The Texans are already without Cushing, the star linebacker who was suspended for four games for the same infraction.
Cushing, the reigning Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year, was suspended in May for testing positive for HCG, a fertility drug that is on the NFL’s banned substances list. Cushing claims that he has a unique medical condition that triggered the positive test, but his appeal was denied.
Cushing is eligible to return Oct. 10, when Houston hosts the New York Giants.