Walking out of Lucas Oil Stadium with some national media guys, the talk turned to the Texans. One said if Duane Brown was what Houston brass thinks he can be, the team would really flourish.
For the next four weeks, they’ll have to flourish without him.
The starting left tackle has been suspended for the next four games for violating the NFL’s policy against performance enhancers and will not appeal. The team’s already without strongside linebacker Brian Cushing, who is halfway through the same penalty for a violation of the same policy.
Enter backup Rashad Butler. The team likes Butler and he'll get a chance. He's the second big replacement challenge for a team who's 2-0 start has been as big of a story as anything in the league.
The team went to the old, reliable, default excuse -- a supplement.
From a Texans press release:
Duane Brown: “First off, I want to personally apologize to Mr. McNair, Coach Kubiak and the rest of the coaching staff, my teammates, family and to all the great and loyal Texans fans. I take full responsibility for putting myself in this situation. 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.”
“I vow to learn from this mistake and be a better player and teammate because of it.”
GM Rick Smith: “We are disappointed that Duane Brown has been suspended. This is a significant blow to our team. 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.
“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.
“Gary [Kubiak] and our coaches are game planning for Dallas and he will be available for comment tomorrow after practice. I am confident in our coaches and our players that we will work through this adversity and continue to play winning football.”
Like it or not, fair or not, one such suspension might be an aberration, two appears to a lot of the league to be a trend.