“He’s shown us that we can count on him," Smith said Wednesday. "He’s shown us the work ethic that he has. He’s shown us, throughout the course of his rehab process, that he was committed to returning to actually being better than he was before. So I was confident in that and very comfortable with that as I watched him continue to do the things that he’s done to earn that trust.”
Cushing signed a six-year contract extension with the Texans on Wednesday. During the press conference at Reliant Stadium announcing the deal, he and Smith shared about the rehab
“I would try to squat and box jump and show all those kind of things," Cushing said. "I wanted to just improve upon that every single week. Every time I set a new goal I would send it him and just let him know I’m coming back.”
The Texans general manager is "pretty involved in all" of the team's medical decisions and rehab protocols, and acknowledged that he "spent a little extra time" staying abreast of Cushing's situation."Trust me, I knew every rep," Smith said. "I knew every exercise. I knew what he was doing and we followed it pretty closely.
Watching his teammates progress through what would become a 12-win regular season, and two-game stay in the playoffs, was hard on Cushing.
That helplessness, Cushing said, helped spur him on during the rehab process. He also said it "definitely" made him stronger.