HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Texans’ All-Pro Linebacker Brian Cushing has returned to the field for training camp, and Cushing’s team couldn’t be more inspired to see him. Coach Gary Kubiak said, “We missed Cush. It’s just good to have him back. He’s always been the emotional leader of this football team. He’s chomping at the bit to go for two hours, but we’re going to work him in the right way and make sure he’s ready to go.”
And that’s what the Texans are doing. The team has slowly eased Cushing into defensive drills since being cleared at the beginning of training camp. “There will really be no restrictions. I’m going to ease myself back into it and we’ve got a pretty good plan about how to go about this and to be smart,” Cushing said. “It’s a long camp and the most important thing is really just to be 100 percent when we come out of it.”
On the field Cushing was the defensive rookie of the year in 2009 and had more than 110 tackles in the two seasons where he played each game. Cushing explained how challenging it was for him to suffer a major injury after starting the 2012 season 5-0 and missing Houston’s final 11 games, “It was extremely frustrating. We were rolling as a team. We were doing great, 5-0. I just remember that plane ride back how frustrated I was. Just thinking, ‘I’m not going to play football for the rest of this year.’ It was a feeling I never had before. I never had a season-ending injury before. I never missed more than a game. To be really significantly hurt like that was a feeling that was kind of uncommon for me. But at the same time, I knew I’d be back eventually. I just worked to that day, to come back and eventually run out of the tunnel again and just be back with my teammates. It was all pointing toward coming back.”
Off the field, Cushing welcomed his son, Cayden to the world a week after tearing his ACL and said that his family helped him through the tough moments in his rehabilitation, “Being with my wife, my family, my son. I got a lot more to prove now. I’ve got a little boy that’s never seen me play football before, Cushing continued, “I want to play for a lot of years and show him who his dad is.”
So, a newly inspired Cush is coming back to join his “Bulls On Parade” and though he has missed a lot of time, it his teammates that missed Cush. “It’s going to make it a lot different. I mean, just his leadership, his playmaking skills that he has, and just what he imposes on the other team,” Safety Danieal Manning said, “That was important to us in the run at the end and we needed that.”
“Cush is a guy who always works hard. He puts a lot of effort into everything he does and I know he’s out there doing a little 7-on-7 today, so I’m excited whenever he gets back to team drills. He flies around the field. He makes plays. He’s natural playmaker.” Defensive End J.J. Watt smiled, “I’m excited to play in front of him again. He’s just a great player man, he’s a great player.”
The Texans missed their defensive captain, last year. In the 11 games without him, the defense dropped from 2nd to 16th in total defense and from 3rd to 20th in scoring defense. Whatever you want to attribute that decline to, the Texans are excited about having their “Bulls On Parade” emotional leader back on the battle ground.
As for the new father, when asked if he’ll be back to ‘normal’, Cush simply said, “Probably better.”