April 03, 2009
Given the long, long, loooong history of Brian Cushing steroid rumors, it's hard to imagine the site NFL Draft Bible expected its anonymous report that Cushing and fellow USC linebacker Clay Matthews tested positive for steroids at last month's NFL Combine to instantly saturate news feeds this morning. It's also hard to imagine Pete Carroll hadn't heard all the skepticism being directed at one of his star players over the last three years.
But saturate it did, everywhere, to the point that an incensed Carroll was already counterpunching on his players' behalf this afternoon -- and the coach, unlike the site, was willing to name his sources:
"These rumors are absolutely false," Carroll said this afternoon. "If they were found positive, Clay and Cush would have been notified three weeks ago, which they weren't, and all of the NFL teams would have been notified too, which they weren't."
Carroll said he spoke with the NFL testing service this morning and verified that both Cushing and Matthews are clean.
"They're both men of outstanding character and they never tested positive for anything here," Carroll said. "This is an [sic] major example of irresponsible reporting, and the site that published this report should be ashamed of themselves."
Uh, no signs of contrition yet, coach, but the site did receive a strongly worded rebuke from Clay Matthews' agent warning its operators to "govern yourself accordingly." Great publicity, guys!
The apparent carelessness of the USC steroid report casts some doubt on the other wide-ranging Draft Bible scoop of the day, an exclusive claiming likely first-rounders B.J. Raji, Vontae Davis and Percy Harvin each tested positive for marijuana in Indianapolis, though no one is publicly refuting those claims at this point. For lack of any stronger defense, those three had better hope the rumors are assumed to be sketchy by association, because nobody in the NFL smokes weed, or even tolerates it, really. It's just not done there.