This year, Brian Cushing enters his seventh NFL season. While he's been through his share of training camps, this one feels different for the All-Pro inside linebacker.
"To be honest with you, this has been my favorite and maybe my best camp," Cushing said Wednesday. "You know, just because I have a whole new appreciation for the game and being out here and whether it's the hot weather or the tough practices, I don't really mind it anymore. Because there's been camps where I haven't been able to play, there's been seasons and games that I've missed, so now to be back and feeling like my old self again, I'm very grateful."
Cushing has been limited entering training camp for the past two seasons, coming off back-to-back knee surgeries. In 2012, Cushing underwent ACL sugery in his left knee after suffering a cut block by New York Jets guard Matt Slauson. Cushing's season ended early in October 2013 following a hit in Kansas City on the same knee. He suffered a broken fibula and torn LCL. Last season, Cushing was inactive for two games with lingering effects from his knee injury.
This summer has been different.
Physically, Cushing has practiced in OTAs and all of the training camp practices. Mentally, it's his second year with linebackers coach Mike Vrabel, who keeps the position group sharp.
"You got to be on your toes the entire meeting," Cushing said. "I think it's good, there's no days off and no one is too laid back in our meetings and he's kind of an on edge kind of coach, but it makes us sharper, it makes us mentally quicker, and it puts us in on-field situations just even in the meeting room, so I think it's benefitted us all really well."
Go behind the scenes of the second episode of #HardKnocks.