The Associated Press has cast its re-vote for 2009 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and once again, Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd finished second in the ballot. Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has once again received the award, though he was not the shoo-in in this ballot that he was originally.
The AP decided to re-vote on Monday after it was discovered that Cushing tested positive for an agent used to re-elevate testosterone levels after a steroid cycle. He has been suspended for the first four games of the 2010 regular season after losing an appeal stemming from his September 2009 test failure.
When the votes were originally cast, Cushing received 39 of 50 votes, with Byrd a very distant second, netting just six. In the re-vote, Cushing received 18 votes, while Byrd finished second with 13 votes. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (10), Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo (3) and Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis (1) also received consideration in the re-vote.
Think about the kind of message this sends not just to young NFL fans, but all fans. It's just my opinion, but I don't see how giving the award back to Cushing, regardless of the legitimacy of the rationale behind voting for Cushing again, sends anything but an overtly negative message. Awards are meaningless to the league; Byrd doesn't suddenly become a better football player if he wins this re-vote, and neither does Cushing. But awards are not meaningless to fans. I'm a fan, and quite frankly, I think the message this sends is disgusting. But that's just me; clearly, the AP was somewhat torn over this matter, as well.