The AP reported Cushing got 18 votes, Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd got 13 to finish second and Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews finished third with 10. Three voters were unable to return ballots and two abstained.
Why did Cushing retain his award after the positive test from September under the league’s policy against performance enhancing drugs?
I agree with this tweet from Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) that answers that question:
“Cushing retains DROY bc :1 He was best; 2. Discomfort in speed/change of AP DROY voting rules for just this; 3. No clear 2nd place candidate”
Also, Cushing was eligible to play in all 16 games last season, and the vote is based on what an eligible player did. My problem is as much with the testing/suspending process as the award.
He’ll serve the suspension when he has to. That, and a dented reputation, seem to me to be a just penalty for his violation. Stripping him would have set a new precedent. Some say that would have been a bold, good development. I think it would be complicated and sloppy and still wonder now what circumstances will produce the next revote.
So defensive rookie of the year remains a line on his resume. We’ll also remember that season is connected to the four-game suspension still to come.