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Texans’ Brown gets 4-game drug suspension

- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 21, 2010

HOUSTON (AP) - Houston left tackle Duane Brown was suspended for four games Tuesday for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs, joining Texans linebacker Brian Cushing on the sideline for the same offense.

Brown said he would not appeal the suspension, meaning his first game back will be Nov. 1 at Indianapolis. He will miss the undefeated Texans' home showdown Sunday with the Dallas Cowboys and the next three games.

Brown apologized to the team's owners, coaches, fans and his teammates.

"I take full responsibility for putting myself in this situation," he said. "I unknowingly took a supplement tainted with a banned substance and now have to deal with the consequences. After reviewing the appeal process and speaking with legal counsel, I have decided not to appeal my suspension. I understand the rules and accept my punishment."

The team did not identify the supplement.

General manager Rick Smith said the team was disappointed and called the suspension "a significant blow."

"Our players have to understand that they are responsible for what goes into their bodies and that they take risks anytime they use a supplement not approved by the NFL," he said in a statement released by the Texans. "Our head athletic trainer, head strength and conditioning coach as well as our team nutritionist have had many meetings and presentations constantly reminding our players about the dangers of the supplemental industry and risks associated with taking non-approved products."

Brown, a former first-round pick, has the crucial role of protecting the blind side of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. Brown held his own in a season-opening battle with Colts All-Pro end Dwight Freeney.

The Texans are already without Cushing, the star linebacker who was suspended for four games for the same infraction.

Cushing, the reigning Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year, was suspended in May for testing positive for HCG, a fertility drug that is on the NFL's banned substances list. Cushing claims that he has a unique medical condition that triggered the positive test, but his appeal was denied.

Cushing is eligible to return Oct. 10, when Houston hosts the New York Giants.

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