“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.”