Houston LB Cushing is top defensive rookie

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NEW YORK (AP) — Brian Cushing has become the second Houston Texans linebacker in four seasons to win The Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

The tackling machine from Southern Cal, drafted 15th overall last April, is a runaway winner in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. Cushing receives 39 votes, easily beating Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd, who has six.

Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans won the award in 2006.

Cushing is the seventh straight linebacker voted top defensive rookie and the ninth in 10 years.