When asked about his 2009 NFL Combine experience, Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Cushing's response was surprising. Even after five years in the league, he still recalls the whirlwind of emotions he felt.
"I was a nervous wreck," Cushing said in an interview with Marc Vandermeer on Texans Radio.
His performance and body of work at USC earned him a first-round selection at No. 15 by the Texans. At the time, Cushing just knew that the Combine would be the biggest job interview of his football career.
"I put so much stock into football and then the Combine had so many different visions on how it would go," Cushing said. "Any little tweak or thing that didn't go my way, I was freaking out. I didn't try to show it but I was very emotional and it meant a lot to me. I wanted to do as best as I possibly could. I wanted to be the fastest, the biggest, the strongest, the best in the interviews. It was extremely important to me to grade out well at the Combine."
Cushing did well at the Combine although the competitor in him felt he could do better.
Fast forward a few months later, and the soon-to-be Texans linebacker was being picked up at his home in New Jersey. His Draft Day call would come while he was waiting in the green room at Radio City Music Hall, just 25 minutes away.
"It was just a surreal situation," Cushing said. "I remember driving in, just thinking, 'I did it.' It was something that you always wanted to do growing up and just to have that opportunity, always seeing New York and thinking one day I'd be drafted there and that was always my goal and for it to finally happen, I mean, it took me a couple of days to sink in."