The Texans are parting ways with Brian Cushing.
Houston's all-time leading tackler has been informed by the Texans they will release him in a salary-cap saving move. The decision was first-reported by the Houston Chronicle.
Releasing Cushing, who was suspended 10 games last season for his second violation of the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances, will save the Texans $7.6 million against the salary cap.
"It's all good," Cushing told the Chronicle in a text message. "It's part of the business."
Cushing, the 15th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, was the Rookie of the Year in 2009. He was suspended the first four games of the 2010 season for his first violation of the NFL's policy against PEDs. Despite tearing his ACL in 2012, Cushing received a six-year, $58.643 million contract extension in 2013 that made him the NFL's highest-paid middle linebacker. He played in just seven games in 2013 before a broken leg ended his season.
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After a solid season in 2014, Cushing recorded his third 100-tackle season in 2015 but injuries returned in 2016 when he suffered a partially torn ACL. In nine NFL seasons, Cushing has played in all 16 games just three times — his three 100-tackle seasons — and had just 16 tackles in five games last season. He finishes his time in Houston with 664 career tackles, 13 1/2 sacks, eight interceptions and nine forced fumbles.
Cushing's release does not come as a surprise after rookies Zach Cunningham and Dylan Cole played well last season in Cushing's absence.