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Brian Cushing: Defensive players have to be protected, too

Brian Cushing

Houston Texans inside linebacker Brian Cushing sits on the bench during the third quarter of an NFL football game between the Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)


The torn ACL suffered by Texans linebacker Brian Cushing when he was hit in the knee from behind by Jets guard Matt Slauson may have been the tipping point for a change in NFL rules to emphasize protecting the legs of defensive players. Cushing supports that.

Cushing would have preferred not to have to sacrifice his own ACL for the cause, but he told Albert Breer of NFL Network that he’s glad to hear the Competition Committee is focusing on the matter.

I’m happy they’re taking the initiative to look at this,” Cushing said. “To me, it’s an acknowledgement that defensive players have to be protected, too. I wasn’t the first guy to go down like this; there have been similar injuries. What happened, that’s a play that can be eliminated. You look at the play, it doesn’t need to be done. So for them to go back and really acknowledge that guys need to be protected, that’s moving in the right direction.”

Slauson’s block was actually already against the rules, and Slauson was fined $10,000. But an increased emphasis on protecting players’ legs, especially for players who are away from the ball and not looking, is overdue. And that emphasis is likely coming in 2013.