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"Night and day" offseasons for Brian Cushing

This time last year, Brian Cushing's offseason was filled with uncertainty: season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the most difficult rehabilitation of his football career, and an unresolved contract situation heading into training camp. His 2013 season was also cut short due to injury, but this one was far less severe.

"Compared to last year, it's pretty much night and day," Cushing said in an exclusive interview with Texans All-Access. "I'm probably about a month away from being fully 100 percent. I've already started running on the field and I just feel great. I feel great physically, I feel great mentally, seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. It's so much earlier this year than last year."

One year ago, Cushing's rehab was still underway and he was still five months away from getting clearance from his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews. While he did return for training camp and started every game until his Week 7 injury cut his season short, Cushing feels more optimistic about his recovery this time around.

"There's so much uncertainty going into camp, being really anxious about my health, about my knee, my contract situation, my future with the team, all that, but all that's taken care of itself and now I have a month left," Cushing said. "I'm going to be pretty much full go by the time OTAs come around and I'm really excited to get into this whole program with the new staff."

Cushing was placed on injured reserve after suffering a tibial plateau fracture and torn LCL in Week 7 at Kansas City on October 20. Before his season-ending injury, Cushing led the team with 65 tackles and had 1.5 sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown in Week 1 against San Diego.

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