UPDATED AS OF 9:00 pm EST on 10/11/12: The NFL agrees with the Houston Texans that New York Jets guard Matt Slauson’s block on Brian Cushing was illegal. The league fined Slauson $10,000 for a peel-back block on Thursday. Slauson is expected to appeal the fine. Fox Sports Jay Glazer reported update at 6 pm.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The NFL is looking in to the play where Brian Cushing’s season ended for the Houston Texans on Monday night in their 23-17 victory over the Jets.
The play in question came on a 2nd & 7 effort from the Jets 32-yard line with 10:37 to go in the second quarter. With Tim Tebow in the shotgun formation, running back Bilal Powell came from the left far side of the field in motion to take the immediate hand-off from Tebow on a WR sweep.
Cushing, who was in pursuit of the play, trailed in the back field. From the replay offensive guard Matt Slauson came flying in from the bottom left of the screen, diving at the back end of Cushing’s left knee.
Powell gained four yards on the play. Cushing would not return to the game, later receiving news that he has a torn ACL and will be held out for the remainder of the season.
On Thursday Rex Ryan received news that the league would be looking into an illegal action by Slauson and reiterated that he doesn’t have dirty players on his team — a sentiment that’s been over shared by many coaches in lieu of the Bounty Gate fallout.
“I know the intent of Matt Slauson was not to injure Brian Cushing. We wouldn’t try to injure anybody.” He continued his defense of Slauson further by explaining the difference between a legal cut block and an illegal chop.
“It’s a legal block. We’re a team that doesn’t cut [block] very often. Sometimes we’ll cut on a second level and things. [Cushing] is an active guy. You try to get him to pad off things like that. It’s an unfortunate thing,” Ryan said. “With the zone running teams, you can take a look at Houston. They almost cut every single run. It’s a technique that you teach. It’s not dirty, it’s just a technique. That’s almost every single run on the back side that they’ll do that. Like I said, with us, clearly, it was a thing that was unintentional.”
A first-round draft pick in 2009, Cushing was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year. He made 133 tackles that year, the second-most in the AFC behind Baltimore’s Ray Lewis (134).
Cushing again led the Texans in tackles last season (114) and also intercepted two passes and forced two fumbles. He’s only missed four games in his three seasons, all to serve a suspension for a positive test for a banned substance.