2014 DRAFT GUIDE
LB Cushing back for Texans after knee injury

    2013-07-26 17:30

(Eds: Updates with quotes, details. With AP Photos.)
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON (AP) - Linebacker Brian Cushing had never dealt with a major injury before and wasn't sure how he'd handle missing Houston's final 11 games after knee surgery last season.

Exactly a week later, he found motivation when his son Cayden was born. When his rehabilitation got tough, his first thought was the little boy who was born Oct. 15.

``I got a lot more to prove now,'' Cushing said. ``I've got a little boy that's never seen me play football before. So obviously, I want to play for a lot of years and show him who his dad is.''

Cushing was back on the field for Houston's first day of training camp Friday and said he feels great. The Texans are taking it slow with Cushing, but they hope he returns as the player he was before the injury when he finished with 114 tackles and four sacks in 2011.

``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.''

The Texans started 5-0 last season behind a defense that was dominant with both Cushing and defensive player of the year J.J. Watt leading the way. Though Houston went on to finish 12-4 and win its second straight AFC South title, some thought the unit never played as well as it did with Cushing on the field.

``We missed him when he was out,'' defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. ``We did a satisfactory job without him, but anytime you lose a great player it's going to hurt you some. And we're glad to have him back.''

Cushing wasn't sure if the defense suffered without him last season, but knows that his return will certainly be a boost. Beyond Cushing, the Texans don't have a ton of experience among their linebackers.

``I definitely think I can help the defense and I want to be back,'' Cushing said. ``I think I add a lot to this team, personally. But, I'm not sure if it's a direct correlation, but all I know is I think we'll be a better team when I'm back. That's just the kind of confidence I have and I think that I can bring a lot to this team.''

Coach Gary Kubiak broke into a huge grin on Friday when asked how nice it was to hear Cushing barking out commands to the rest of the defense again. Cushing, who was the defensive rookie of the year in 2009, has had more than 110 tackles in the two seasons where he played each game.

His other abbreviated season came when he was suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances and finished with 76 tackles.

``He's the emotional leader of this team,'' Kubiak said. ``What he went through last year and having to watch us play for the next three months was very difficult on him. He's got some ground to make up; he knows that. But I'm looking forward to watching him do it because I know he's on a mission.''

He's eager to share his experience with Houston's young linebackers, especially rookie third-round pick Sam Montgomery, to help them navigate the often confusing world of the NFL.

``It's my fifth year and I've been through a good amount of football and I've seen a lot of things in the NFL, even off the field there's a lot of things I can help them with,'' Cushing said. ``As a rookie, you really don't know much. You think you know everything but it's a crazy process, it's a crazy business. There are a lot of things you never would expect and they happen.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julius ThomasNov 27 07:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Jordan CameronNov 27 06:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Jordan ReedNov 27 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is out for Week 13 Thursday, Nov. 27. His ankle isn't responding well enough, but the hope is to return for Week 14.

R. Griffin IIINov 27 09:53a

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Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

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