The substance that has landed linebacker Brian Cushing in tons of hot water is HCG, a fertility drug that is on the NFL’s banned substance list. A person familiar with Cushing’s case told AP Tuesday that Cushing had one positive test last September, then subsequently tested negative several times. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the test results were supposed to remain confidential.
“He had one low-level positive test for HCG in September, and then every test after that was negative,” the person said. “He has said he has no idea where the positive test came from.”
For now, the linebacker is suspended for the first four games of the season. He won the AP’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honor in January for outstanding on-field performance. Now, the AP is taking a revote for the award, as well as All-Pro outside linebacker because Cushing made the second team.
ESPN first reported the banned substance was human chorionic gonadotropin, which is widely taken by steroid users to help restart natural testosterone production. HCG can mitigate the side effects of ending a cycle of drugs. It’s also used to induce ovulation and treat ovarian disorders in women.
The person familiar with Cushing’s case said medical experts have talked about a surge in HCG levels for a man after a workout or after ejaculation. U.S. Anti-Doping Agency spokeswoman Erin Hannan denied that.
“You would not see a natural spike of HCG after a workout or ejaculation,” Hannan told The Associated Press. “You would only detect it in urine by actually having taken it.”