Brian Cushing is happy to be back.
The inside linebacker returned last week from a 10-game suspension, and on Tuesday he came off his one-week roster exemption and joined the 53-man squad. On Wednesday inside NRG Stadium after practice, Cushing discussed how good it was to be reunited with his teammates.
"I'm just extremely excited to be back with my team, and playing the sport that I love," Cushing said.
The team's first round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Cushing was suspended on September 13. The time away from the Texans was "terrible" in Cushing's words.
"The worst part is watching the guys and knowing you can't help," Cushing said. "This is everything I do. Everything I love doing. It hurt a lot."
Head coach Bill O'Brien, who's repeatedly talked about how valuable Cushing's leadership has been over the years, said the veteran linebacker's versatility will be a plus this weekend against San Francisco. "It's good to have him back," O'Brien said. "Brian has played inside most of the time he's been here, but he can play outside. It all depends upon how the game unfolds. He'll be in there, though."
Cushing's return wasn't just welcomed by his coaches and defensive teammates. Quarterback Tom Savage said it was "awesome" to see the franchise's leading tackler back in the fold.
"He's one of the best linebackers of all time," Savage said. "Just a great guy to have back."
Cushing and the Texans will practice again on Thursday and Friday, and they'll host the 49ers this Sunday at noon CT.
The Houston Texans roster in photos.