Former Trojan standout linebacker Brian Cushing suffered a torn ACL during a Monday night contest between the Houston Texans and the host New York Jets in East Rutherford, NJ.
Injuries in professional football are certainly commonplace, but Cushing’s injury in particular brings with it a fair amount of scrutiny because it occurred due to a possibly illegal chop block from Jets guard Matt Slauson.
Former USC teammate and current Green Bay Packers star linebacker Clay Matthews took tweeted on behalf of Cushing after watching video of the injury and stated, “If the NFL really wants to increase player safety, start protecting players on BOTH sides of the ball.” The play is currently under review by the NFL.
The Texans released that they believe Cushing has a torn anterior cruciate ligament which will require surgery in a few weeks, effectively ending the linebacker’s 2012 campaign. Cushing’s loss is huge for Houston, as the Trojan product was leading the team in tackles (38) heading into Monday’s game.
Cushing was part of a trio of highly regarded linebackers during his time at USC. He, Matthews and Rey Maualuga appeared on the cover of a 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated after all three were rumored to be first-round selections. Cushing was named an AP All American First-Teamer in 2008 before being drafted 15th overall by the Texans the following year. He was named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2009.