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"Overtrained athlete syndrome" will be blamed for Cushing's suspension

I’m tempted to say that I’ve now heard everything.  But the crazy nature of this business guarantees that I’ll soon hear something even crazier.

Peter King of SI.com reports that, when Texans owner Bob McNair meets with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday, McNair will explain that Cushing’s positive test for elevated hCG levels was the product of “overtrained athlete syndrome,” a condition from which Andre Smith will never suffer.

Cushing explained his better-never-than-late excuse to King on Friday.  “Everything points to that overtrained athlete syndrome,” Cushing said, using the word “that” as if King or anyone else already knew what it is.  “I’m pretty sure it is.  I’m pretty positive.  I didn’t take anything.  It’s not a tainted supplement.  So all roads lead to that.”

Supposedly, an athlete who trains for a long period of time and then stops acquires a testosterone imbalance, which potentially spikes his hCG level.  That said, it’s never happened to any other player who has tested positive for hCG.  More importantly, it feels like a round peg/square hole attempt to fashion an excuse for an elevated hCG level that was temporary.

That was the biggest flaw in Cushing’s ill-advised media blitz from May.  If, as he claims he feared, he had a tumor, the hCG level would have continued to be elevated.  And if there was some natural condition causing generally increased hCG levels, common sense tells us it wouldn’t have popped up quickly and then dissipated after the positive test.

Though the Commissioner may not buy any of it, Cushing’s boss does.

“He shows no sign of ever having been on steroids,” McNair said.  “His
weight hasn’t changed appreciably since he’s been with us.  I’ve looked
into it pretty thoroughly, and I haven’t found anything that would lead
me to believe that he has ever taken a performance-enhancing drug.”

Apart from the traditional circumstantial evidence of steroid use (some would say there is such evidence based on pictures of Cushing while in college), it’s possible that Cushing was taking steroids not to get bigger but to recover from the knee injury that threatened to derail the start of his rookie season.  Last August, Cushing suffered the knee sprain.  So if he decided to do a short cycle of steroids aimed at helping to heal the ligament, and if he then chased it with hCG to help kick-start his natural testosterone production, elevated hCG levels would thereafter be in his system.

Here’s the bottom line.  Cheaters don’t admit to cheating when they get caught cheating.  So Cushing’s effort to continue to attribute his behavior to something other than cheating is exactly what he would do if he were cheating.  The fact that he and the Texans are offering a buffet line of excuses makes us even more skeptical of the situation, and we suspect that the league office will be just as skeptical, if not more.

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64 Responses to “"Overtrained athlete syndrome" will be blamed for Cushing's suspension”
  1. afiresnake says: Aug 9, 2010 10:00 AM

    Belichick admitted his wrongdoing … :D except for the fact he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong.

  2. Kaz says: Aug 9, 2010 10:01 AM

    And this has something to do with Andre why? At least he didn’t take steriods. Is that what you would prefer?

  3. Daws84 says: Aug 9, 2010 10:02 AM

    Yea cheaters dont admit to cheating…but ironically non cheaters dont admit to cheating either…not sure how that is the bottom line…Maybe the buffet line of excuses is due to him actually being innocent and him fighting to not be suspended. Or do you expect non guilty individuals to just give up….because if they dont they will just look guilty…

  4. It puts the lotion on the skin says: Aug 9, 2010 10:05 AM

    Over Trained Athlete / Under Trained Brain Syndrome….

  5. Zaggs says: Aug 9, 2010 10:05 AM

    In McNair’s defense its not as if he’s going to cop to employing an athlete that cheats. The best way for McNair to get Cushing back as soon as possible is to back whatever Cushing says. No matter how craptastic the excuse may be.
    Though Cushing does get extra credit for the sheer brazenness of pushing this BS out in public. Especially after the sympathy enducing “Its ah tuumor” attempt.

  6. bigbolt says: Aug 9, 2010 10:08 AM

    Oh, puhhhhhlease. It’s Brian Cushing’s world, we’re all just the idiots who happen to inhabit it.

  7. SeriousRadio says: Aug 9, 2010 10:08 AM

    “overtrained athlete syndrome” may well give way to “Merriman Syndrome”. Cushing’s performance might go south like Merriman’s All-World performance after he was busted for PEDs.

  8. dietrich43 says: Aug 9, 2010 10:14 AM

    Yeah, and Pete Carroll knew nothing about Reggie Bush……..

  9. Manbearpig says: Aug 9, 2010 10:14 AM

    Wow those pics are pretty damning. Find it very hard to believe that was natural. It’s the Brock Lesnar syndrome. Also-ran average sized high school wrestler turned JUCO beast turned D-1 national champ turned pro wrestler turned UFC Champ. Not to imply that any pro wrestlers have ever juiced. LOL.

  10. MrHumble says: Aug 9, 2010 10:15 AM

    Let’s settle this……call in Shannie and his lie detector test, that will certainly give Bob McNair all the “proof” that he needs for the grand puppeteer Goodell. This will allow Goodell to do as his “bosses/owners” tell him to do and save face at the same time becuz we know the “lie detector doesn’t lie”……………I propose that McNair felt this was a good time to approach the Commish with such a crazy-ass story becuz the Commish seems to be in a “giving mood” with how he has treated v. young, ced benson, m. vick etc.

  11. burntorangehorn says: Aug 9, 2010 10:17 AM

    “He shows no sign of ever having been on steroids,” McNair said. “His weight hasn’t changed appreciably since he’s been with us. I’ve looked into it pretty thoroughly, and I haven’t found anything that would lead me to believe that he has ever taken a performance-enhancing drug.”
    ========================================
    It hasn’t changed appreciably because he was almost certainly juicing in college as well.

  12. Cushing Will Kill You says: Aug 9, 2010 10:19 AM

    And to think: this story was going away. All my man had to do was sit out his four games and come back like a bat out of hell. With Haynesworth and Revis and C. Johnson and Rex Ryan and all this other knuckleheads, all Cush had to do was keep quiet until he is reinstated.
    Good God, I hope he and McNair have something credible to present to Goodell.

  13. amivy says: Aug 9, 2010 10:21 AM

    Sounds like a whole lotta “if”‘s in this article. The second someone is accused of something, they are presumed guilty. Like one of the above poster’s said, a non-cheater will never admit to cheating. So your argument is shoddy at best.
    I knew I was reading a Florio post by the stench of bias in the entire article. Can’t you just write a story without tainting it with your lawyer like mentality? If not, just let rosenthal write them all from now on.

  14. ParkerFly says: Aug 9, 2010 10:24 AM

    McNair couldn’t find anything, but another team’s scout said it was obvious he was a habitual steroid user dating back to high school. What’s missing here?

  15. Quest For Six says: Aug 9, 2010 10:24 AM

    Oh, I thought it was take the steroids make more money syndrome.

  16. joetoronto says: Aug 9, 2010 10:24 AM

    There has to be a label on everything nowadays, because no one is responsible for their own actions anymore.
    “Overtrained athlete syndrome”, what a joke.

  17. Wonka says: Aug 9, 2010 10:25 AM

    This Bob McNair clown is completely delusional and a perfect example of what a bad owner is.
    Cushing went from a scrawny kid with man boobs in college into a muscle bound monster in a manner of years. Check these pics -> http://www.celebritysmackblog.com/2010/05/11/brian-cushing-before-and-after-steroids-pictures-photos/
    It’s obvious that the kid is a juicer, and he flunked the test after being linked to juice in college as well.
    Do us all and yourself a favor Bob McNair, shut your pie hole before you come across any more ignorant!

  18. dabarber says: Aug 9, 2010 10:26 AM

    He’s a juicehead just like the Situation, Ronnie, and DJ Pauly D!

  19. Old School says: Aug 9, 2010 10:28 AM

    This is a simple case of throwing poop at the wall until something sticks.
    As to “over trained”….
    My doctor has always contended that athletes intense training causes their muscles to contract so violently that they literally can tear their joints apart.

  20. BRUTUS9448 says: Aug 9, 2010 10:29 AM

    come on. He’s a juicer. I’m sure ricky williams then had underactive athlete syndrome from jamaica

  21. jfd117 says: Aug 9, 2010 10:31 AM

    Didn’t Big Ben the rapist alrady use that excuse?

  22. purpleguy says: Aug 9, 2010 10:38 AM

    So of the hundreds of NFL players who train their asses off, and get tested, this is the first discovery of elevated hCG level in a player due to that cause? First it’s a tumor, now he trains too hard? Sounds like the guy has a future in politics when his NFL career is over, which may be sooner than later now that he can’t juice.

  23. DG0122 says: Aug 9, 2010 10:38 AM

    that ‘before’ picture was taken right after his return from shoulder surgery. how much do you think he trained his upper body immediately after shoulder surgery?

  24. Wonka says: Aug 9, 2010 10:43 AM

    # Kaz says: August 9, 2010 10:01 AM
    And this has something to do with Andre why? At least he didn’t take steriods. Is that what you would prefer?
    ======================
    Aww, look everbody! The little Bengals fan is sad because somebody made a joke about his team’s overweight, lazy, man boob having bust of a top 10 pick.

  25. db3300 says: Aug 9, 2010 10:43 AM

    “it’s possible that Cushing was taking steroids not to get bigger but to recover from the knee injury that threatened to derail the start of his rookie season.”
    Florio, educate yourself on steroids, will ya? The only reason for using steroids is to decrease recovery time. With reduced recovery time, the user can spend more time in the weight room getting bigger and stronger. The steroids themselves don’t make you bigger. They enable you to workout more often and with more intensity. You can’t simply take steroids and drive through McDonald’s 4 times a day. It just doesn’t work that way.

  26. STEELCHUCK says: Aug 9, 2010 10:47 AM

    Overtrained Athlete Syndrome? Really… Wow…
    And O.J. had “Knife to Throat Syndrome” … any excuse after being caught… idiots…

  27. Florio-is-a-tool says: Aug 9, 2010 10:47 AM

    Any doubts Cushing will be smaller than most Strong Safeties when he gets back on the field?

  28. Zane Smith says: Aug 9, 2010 10:48 AM

    I love Wonka saying Cushing was a “scrawny kid with manboobs before he started juicing in college.” Dude, did you ever see him in high school? He looked like the incredible hulk. He was 6’4″, 225 pounds, and shredded as a senior in high school.
    This picture with the man boobs (which is most likely photoshopped) was taken while he was rehabbing from shoulder surgery his freshman year at USC and hadn’t lifted for close to a year. If you go from lifting every day for years to not lifting for a year, your muscle turns to flab.
    If you don’t know anything about a topic, why would you make insinuations that he was a scrawny kid and then all of a sudden got big?

  29. cobrala2 says: Aug 9, 2010 10:58 AM

    Earth to blogger Florio: the ONLY thing that ‘heals’ ligaments is HGH. HGH is NOT a Steroid.
    Additionally, when muscle tissue increases in mass the tendons and ligaments do NOT with a steroid abuser. The additional stresses these new, imbalanced muscle tissues can place on tendons and ligaments directly cause or contribute to tendon/ligament damage.
    I would’ve slipped and said ‘reporter’ but a reporter would have checked his facts first, I guess.?

  30. JimmySmith says: Aug 9, 2010 11:01 AM

    This is sad, I wonder if Goodell is willing to consider a longer ban, like to 6 games, for insulting his intelligence.

  31. eagles_5_beast says: Aug 9, 2010 11:03 AM

    That was a good andre Smith joke, florio

  32. Hail2ThaRedskins says: Aug 9, 2010 11:12 AM

    Zane you are absolutely correct, Cushing was a beast coming out of high school. If he is/was a juicer, he has been doing it since he was in high school, not something he started in college, so those before and after pictures are worthless as proof of anything. I don’t know when those pictures were taken and like you say might even be photoshoped, but any credible journalist that would post a before and after pic (and any credible journalist linking to those pictures) would provide dates for the pictures! Hell, his “before” picture might have even been taken after his “after” picture.

  33. BenRapistberger says: Aug 9, 2010 11:17 AM

    “Cheaters don’t admit to cheating when they get caught cheating.”
    Just throwing this out there. Innocent people don’t admit to cheating when they get accused of cheating.

  34. Dapollock says: Aug 9, 2010 11:23 AM

    Overtrained athelete syndrome?
    The only situation this should even apply should be when you can’t drop a 5th choad in a day because you’ve successfully cranked out 4 previously.

  35. CleanSlaton says: Aug 9, 2010 11:27 AM

    It didn’t take long for Florio to bust out his soapbox.
    Cushing has already been convicted in the court of public opinion, but as long as doctors keep popping up with longshot possibilities, players are going to keep making excuses.
    Goodell won’t listen to this excuse, even if this ‘syndrome’ is possible….it’s still not plausible. However, the ‘cheaters’ BS is taking it a little too far, Mike. Just save your ire for the next athlete you try to make an example out of. Cushing isn’t the only player who desires any edge he can get to be a great player, and he’s not the only player that will get suspended for failing drug tests, as players will also still do their best to trick the testers. Excuse or explanation, he’s just doing his best to recover from the embarrassment of the situation, as well as the haranguing he has received from sanctimonious dinks like Mike Florio. I hope he just shuts up after this, leaving the chance for reasonable doubt to change a few minds about him. He’s too meat-headed to bail himself out. The only positive conclusion I drew from this is Bob McNair’s effort–which was previously invisible, leading me to believe it’s motivated by his future financial gain from a player like Cush doing well. I still think McNair is the stuffiest, most boring and cautious owner in the league. Go Texans.

  36. ijr213 says: Aug 9, 2010 11:28 AM

    Once this is all said and done, do you people still think Cushing will be worth anything? Take Shawn Merriman as an example. He got in trouble for juicing as well and was suspended, but since then going off of his “herbal enhancements”, he hasn’t been that productive. We can subtract the 2 seasons previous if you’d like since one was on IR and the second was coming off of missing an entire season.

  37. Ron says: Aug 9, 2010 11:34 AM

    # Manbearpig says: August 9, 2010 10:14 AM
    Wow those pics are pretty damning. Find it very hard to believe that was natural. It’s the Brock Lesnar syndrome. Also-ran average sized high school wrestler turned JUCO beast turned D-1 national champ turned pro wrestler turned UFC Champ. Not to imply that any pro wrestlers have ever juiced. LOL.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Alistair Overeem agrees with everything you say

  38. hitnbombs28 says: Aug 9, 2010 11:42 AM

    The before pic of Cushing proves he was a previous steroid user. He has a terrible case of gynomastia, better known as “bitch tits”. He probably just learned how to properly take steroids and utilize post cycle therapy using such things as HCG while he was in college.
    Also the excuse or thought that he may have done a short cycle to speed recovery from a knee injury doesn’t make sense because steroids don’t heal ligaments. If anything that would be more detrimental to recovery as the muscles in his leg would get so much stronger, faster than an already damaged or healed but recovering(ie weak) ligament causing even more stress on the ligament. HGH is the only thing you can put in your body to heal ligaments.

  39. madmike77 says: Aug 9, 2010 11:52 AM

    How long before the Steelers file an appeal on Roethlisberger’s behalf claiming, “Undersexed, Overpaid Athlete’s Syndrome”?
    Seriously though, Cushing and the Texans will need very compelling evidence to get the suspension overturned – otherwise anyone who tests positive is going to try this.

  40. patpatriotagain says: Aug 9, 2010 11:57 AM

    he’s done it since HS + he’s still denying = he will do it again.

  41. Texansgrrl says: Aug 9, 2010 12:01 PM

    For all of you that are wondering about Cushing’s relative size. Go to http://www.houstontexans.com and look through the Training Camp photos. Look for day 9, picture 14…. He’s just as big.
    I don’t agree with doping, but I can’t see where this kid has lost anything after being “caught”. He’s been big for a long time. Either he works out like a maniac or he juices all the time. We obviously know that he can’t be juicing now after all the freaking tests that he had to do.
    Perhaps, not everyone is lying.

  42. Deadeye says: Aug 9, 2010 12:13 PM

    Who cares if Cushing suffers from Overrated Athlete Syndrome? The league has seen this sort of thing before, and should acknowledge it’s existence.

  43. Citizen Strange says: Aug 9, 2010 12:13 PM

    Cushing’s condition is actually O.D.B.
    (Over Douched Bag)

  44. TheCD says: Aug 9, 2010 12:22 PM

    In the interest of full disclosure, I will say I am a Texans fan upfront. That being said, I just want to point out a few things:
    1. Cushing never tested positive for steroids, so it is pure speculation to whether or not he was/is taking them.
    2. Cushing passed repeated tests throughout the entire season (having tested positive at the beginning).
    3. Cushing has not depreciated in size, despite not testing positive for steroids or hcg since the first test.
    4. Cushing’s play improved dramatically as the season went on.
    I am not saying he did not use, as I have no idea if he really did. I am in no way excusing his behavior either, if he did.
    All I am saying is that there are facts to be presented that show a possibility of him not having used steroids as well. Something else perhaps? I have no clue…

  45. pitch87mph says: Aug 9, 2010 12:38 PM

    I’m not trying to be funny here, but are those pictures real? There’s so outrageous they almost look completely doctored. The “bulked up” photo doesn’t even look like a human being–looks like a cartoon figure. If they’re undoctored, shoulder injury or not in the “before photo”, he’s juicing. And I guess I’d follow that up by saying… too much. You don’t need to be that muscle bound, Brian. You look like a freak–and not the good kind (like Javon Kearse back in the day, or a Bruce Smith).

  46. FinFan68 says: Aug 9, 2010 12:38 PM

    He seems to be suffering from Cranial Rectum Insertion Syndrome as well

  47. Varazslat says: Aug 9, 2010 12:42 PM

    Florio is the worst. If this site wasnt just a quick refresh at work for most the NFL headlines I skip it. Stop reading most stories after the 1st 3-5 sentences and you’ll enjoy it here more.

  48. shaunypoo says: Aug 9, 2010 12:42 PM

    Then Jerry Rice is the biggest juicer in the history of the NFL. The dude trained harder the week after the season was over than most football players train all year.

  49. ncoolong says: Aug 9, 2010 12:50 PM

    Damn, I wish I worked for Bob McNair…I couldn’t imagine an owner would destroy his own reputation just to defend me from the justice I deserved after getting caught using a banned substance.

  50. kpweaver27 says: Aug 9, 2010 1:00 PM

    Also, “foot in mouth syndrome” comes to mind. I predict he’ll have a very average season returning from this suspension.

  51. ijr213 says: Aug 9, 2010 1:24 PM

    A few points:
    1. This is now Cushing’s 3rd argument for why he had elevated levels of hCG. His 2nd argument was that he had tumors, a slap in the face of anybody who has been affected by cancer.
    2. There is no other record ever of this affecting any other athlete. I would think that something like this would have been found in a marathon runner or someone like that if something like this was possible. Or in retired athletes.
    3. If you read the description of Overtrained Athlete Syndrome, that means that Cushing had to have trained so hard and then stopped abruptly for this to have happened. Does anyone actually believe that?
    4. It’s possible that Cushing was also trying to mask HGH usage as well. Even though HGH doesn’t show up in tests, he could have been using both. Leave Florio alone.

  52. Qoojo says: Aug 9, 2010 1:25 PM

    This almost surpasses Tiger Wood’s claim of being addicted to sex.

  53. lurch's nyquil says: Aug 9, 2010 1:28 PM

    Yeah and my wife has got a big butt because she has sitonthecouchitis.

  54. smithopher says: Aug 9, 2010 1:32 PM

    This dude definitely took steroids… he lived like a few towns over from where I grew up (northern jersey), there are roids running rampant around there. plenty of meatheads with tons of hair gel down there.

  55. tacious says: Aug 9, 2010 2:04 PM

    If he’s telling the truth and has nothing to hide, then he should voluntarily submit to a lie detector test… that would silence all critics and give some legitimacy to this (imo) made up syndrome.
    @ Florio… when you finally get stabbed on the street by some angry, deranged PFT junkie, maybe they’ll claim they were suffering from “Post Traumatic PFT Syndrome.”

  56. SeriousRadio says: Aug 9, 2010 2:05 PM

    When the owner condones cheating, it is just another reason for fans and foes to enjoy watching the Texans get their ass kicked. It’s moronic for any NFL owner to announce to the commissioner that he still supports his juicer.

  57. dwheel says: Aug 9, 2010 2:53 PM

    The tumor thing came from the league… Go look it up they sent him a letter. Do your damn research .

  58. FriarBob says: Aug 9, 2010 3:33 PM

    Goodell should listen patiently and respectfully to this ridiculous bilge, then fine McNair 2 million for being an idiot and increase Cushing’s suspension to 8 games for “conduct detrimental to the league” because of the way he’s trying to give every other cheater a get out of jail free card.

  59. rbais2 says: Aug 9, 2010 4:00 PM

    You know, Mike?
    You said after the Cushing B.S. press conference someone from a news entity like ’60 Minutes’, ESPN, or Sports Illustrated could expose them.
    Could you please tip 2 of these 3 off so that he can shut up???
    I said “2 of 3″ because I know that ESPN won’t take your calls. However, please just do this!
    Cushing is stupider than A-Rod when it comes to “theories” and I just want him to zip his juiced-up piehole!!!

  60. heysharpshooter says: Aug 9, 2010 4:09 PM

    I love how players who juice in the NFL are “cheaters”…
    Julius Peppers was busted as a rookie for ACTUAL steroids, not female hormones, and he’s been a beast when he chooses to be. Shawne Merriman had 12 sacks in 12 games the season he was busted.
    Steroids do not make players good. Look at the list of guys busted by the league in recent years. The VAST majority are scrubs, back-ups, gunners, practice squad fodder and Luke Lawton. In fact, the only 4 good players I can think of that have been busted are Peppers, Merriman, Cushing(all DROTY) and Dwayne B0we, and juice hasn’t helped Bowe catch passes.
    Good football players are good football players, period. The hypocrasy PFT has shown with Cushing, who I believed did steroids(I mean, 6’4 265!?), is mind numbing. They give Gerald McRath a pass, but continue to blast Cushing because he didn’t cooperate with the high and might sports media and admit he cheated and beg for forgiveness. I promise you Florio isn’t bashing Franco Harris, Jack Lambert and the Steel Curtain Steelers for all being roid junkies. If roids make you such an amazing player, than why didn’t every one from the Steel Curtain make the HoF?

  61. rbais2 says: Aug 9, 2010 4:15 PM

    You know, Mike?
    You said after the Cushing B.S. press conference someone from a news entity like ’60 Minutes’, ESPN, or Sports Illustrated could expose him (Not “them”. Sorry, sometimes you press one thing on the iPhone quickly and the other letter comes up and you forget to check the screen).
    Could you please tip 2 of these 3 off so that he can shut up???
    I said “2 of 3″ because I know that ESPN won’t take your calls. However, please just do this!
    Cushing is stupider than A-Rod when it comes to “theories” and I just want him to zip his juiced-up piehole!!!

  62. Scott Robinson - On Further Review says: Aug 9, 2010 4:21 PM

    Florio,
    You, and others like you, can’t really be blamed for being ignorant. The facts are, you don’t know. As new information is presented with medical and scientific basis, that’s when your refusal to acknowledge it cements your ignorance.
    Go ahead and pile on Cushing and when this (his innocence) is proven to be true, I’ll be looking for yours and everyone else’s public apology and retractions. If I were you, I’d keep quiet until all the facts are on the table.

  63. aj says: Aug 9, 2010 4:40 PM

    ” If you read the description of Overtrained Athlete Syndrome, that means that Cushing had to have trained so hard and then stopped abruptly for this to have happened. Does anyone actually believe that?”
    Cushing hurt his knee in training camp last August. He went from training camp intensity to inactive and was out for about four weeks. He failed the test in September and has presumably passed every test since

  64. runtheball says: Aug 10, 2010 4:42 PM

    It’s called Photo Shop!

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