Texans excited by Cushing’s return

Texans excited by Cushing’s return
August 17, 2013, 11:45 pm
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Before Brian Cushing got to play in his first NFL game in over 10 months, he already let his presence be felt.

Prior to the start of Saturday’s game, Cushing stood in the middle of his gathered Texans teammates and fired them up as he had done so many times before. But this was the first time he was able to play a game since Oct. 8 last year, when he tore his ACL against the Jets. That was a long time ago.

So, what did he say?

“A lot of firing up words,” Antonio Smith said.

What exactly?

“Can’t say it on TV,” Smith said smiling into cameras. 

Once Cushing got on the field in the Texans’ 24-17 win on Saturday night, his first play wasn’t anything special but it might have helped him knock some cobwebs off. He was flattened by a block from a Dolphin on a three-yard run.

But two plays later, Cushing made a huge play, the kind of play the Texans have missed for some time.

From the shotgun, Ryan Tannehill threw a short screen pass to Lamar Miller. Cushing was able to shed his blocker and make a big tackle for a five-yard loss.

“It’s a great feeling,” veteran safety Danieal Manning said. “It’s shocking that he’s able to come back from an injury like that and perform at tip-top performance like that. That’s a testament. Those plays that he makes, he makes all the time. It’s just nice to see it again. It’s nice to see 56 out there on the field.”

That tackle for loss was the only tackle Cushing had on the night. A little later in the game, he had a chance to sack Tannehill. He flew at him like a spider monkey but came up empty.

But even though wasn’t able to record that sack, the type of play it was, the way he went after the quarterback with ferocity, with intensity, meant a lot to the Texans. They just enjoyed him being back on the field.

“It was awesome. It was awesome,” Shiloh Keo said. “He brings a whole different attitude. It was just great to see him out there with us. He’s been going with us during the week in practice and stuff so it’s been nice to finally see him out there on game day.”

Cushing started the game next to Joe Mays inside. The individual Texans’ defenders were announced prior to the game. J.J. Watt went second to last and Cushing was the final player announced in his return. He received one of the loudest cheers from the home fans at Reliant Stadium.

“I was pleased to see his quickness,” Texans owner Bob McNair said.

Cushing showed off more of that quickness postgame, when he beat reporters out of the locker room, sneaking away without speaking to the press.

But he didn’t need to talk. His teammates were plenty happy talking about having their defensive leader back on the field.

“He’s a big part of our defense. He’s a big part of our team,” wide receiver Andre Johnson said. “It’s great to just have him back on the field. I think it got everybody excited just to see him back out there because we know what he went through as far as the injury and stuff.”
“He worked so hard to get his body right, get his mind right and get his leg together,” Manning said. “I think that’s a testament to how important this game of football is for him.”

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