On Friday, Green Bay Packers’ outside linebacker Clay Matthews’ former teammate at USC and reigning defensive rookie of the year, Brian Cushing, was suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the NFL’s policy on steroids and related substances.
There’s been quite a bit of chatter that Cushing, who plays for the Houston Texans, used steroids in high school and college, so the news wasn’t a surprise to everyone. Cushing was the subject of a false report he tested positive for steroids during the 2009 scouting combine.
Matthews was the subject of a similar report.
Is this all coincidence?
I can’t help but play devil’s advocate, though.
Look at Matthews’ story for a moment. By now I’m sure you know it well.
Matthews walked on at USC as a 166 lbs. tight end/linebacker. Coming into his senior season, he was best known as a special teams demon. Matthews became a starter the third game of his senior season and turned into a playmaking linebacker like teammates Cushing and Rey Maualuga. By the time the scouting combine was finished, Matthews was a 240 lbs. riser who was shooting up draft boards league wide.
Matthews work ethic and determination have been well documented.
In fact, I don’t want to take anything away from a guy who’s worked his way up, but you’ve got to be ignorant not to wonder if he had any help.
The affect Matthews loss would have on the Packers’ defense would be catastrophic, especially since the team did nothing to bolster the outside linebacker position in the offseason.
I guess now we just sit back and cross our fingers it’s all coincidence.