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Re-voting for the Defensive Rookie of the Year is a very reasonable response to Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing's failed drug test. Stripping the award outright is premature given that previous winners retained their award and with a plausible, benign explanation for the positive test (though it fits as well if not better with steroid use). The re-vote will allow the AP voters to weigh all the information again, and come up with what's sure to be a controversial, but also better informed result.
Cushing is the third DROY at defensive end or outside linebacker in the last nine years to be suspended for a banned steroid-related substance. The edge rusher (DE/OLB) is the realm of the freakiest of the freak athletes and the premium position on the defense. The absolutely vital role of an effective pass rush and the elite physical tools required to do it effectively, combined with the constant pounding contact that a 4-3 DE (Peppers), 3-4 OLB (Merriman), or 4-3 SAM LB (Cushing) takes is the perfect storm for PED use. These defenders' bodies take a beating, but must stay at an elite peak of performance to do their jobs. The boosts to injury and workout recovery from steroids are especially attractive to players can need to work themselves into unbelievable athletic shape and rebound from the damages done to their bodies in the trenches.
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