Cushing exploded onto the scene in 2009, winning Defensive Rookie Of The Year honors and establishing himself as the Texans' biggest star on defense in a pre-J.J. Watt world. Second-team All-Pro honors followed in 2011, before a string of injuries stunted his career trajectory. The toll of the middle linebacker position showed on the operating table this offseason, as Cushing underwent separate surgeries on his knee, wrist and ankle.
Now 28, Cushing is finally healthy and making a difference on the field for a Texans team that will need a top 10-level defense to contend for a playoff spot.
"I'm moving like my old self, I'm feeling like my old self," Cushing said Monday, according to the Houston Chronicle. "I'm not worried about my knee or other injuries or needing any slack or anything really holding me back. It's awesome.
"I've been through a lot of ups and downs. When you love the game this much, nothing is going to stop you. I'm well on my way. It's been a lot of hard work and a lot of tough times. I'm a better person for everything I've been through. We'll see how the season goes."