There are no off days for Brian Cushing.
After recovering from back-to-back knee surgeries, Cushing has headed into the past two offseasons healthy. The veteran inside linebacker hasn't missed a day of practice this year, according to head coach Bill O'Brien.
"He's one of our leaders and he has practiced well," O'Brien said Tuesday. "He plays the game the right way. He plays very hard. He's a smart player and I think if you ask him, I think he feels good. He's healthy. He has had a really good offseason."
Cushing made some big plays in Tuesday's veteran minicamp, including an interception and forcing a pass breakup near the goal line. He makes the most of each practice rep, despite being one of the leaders on defense.
"I think that for anyone at 29 years old and eighth year in the league, especially as a middle linebacker, you have to work at it every single day," Cushing said. "Like I said, you're either getting better or getting worse. I'm trying to get better every day."
With those long days of rehab behind him, Cushing's approach to the game has also evolved. His training is more athletic, focused on running and staying in shape. Entering his eighth NFL season, Cushing feels he has a lot of football left in him, both physically and mentally.
"I think I've trained hard in the offseason but at the same time, the further I get away from my injuries, the better I'm going to get," Cushing said. "I'm going to continue to heal and get back to where I was, not worrying about rehab or injuries or trying to figure out what's wrong with my body. But instead, training like I was able to, training like I'm used to and continuing to build momentum. Get to where I need to be again and if I can, I think I can help this team greatly."
The Texans mandatory three-day veteran minicamp ends Thursday. Players will report back for the start of training camp at the end of July.
Check out some of the best shots from the Texans' first day of veteran minicamp.