Along with his teammates, linebacker Brian Cushing went through the first day of voluntary offseason workouts on Monday morning. A defensive captain in 2012, Cushing was lost for the season to a left knee injury he suffered in the Week 5 win over the Jets.
Cushing said his rehab is going well, and he participated with the rest of the squad yesterday.
After it was finished, Cushing spoke with us in the locker room about his goals for 2013, his pain level and more.
What was today like for you?
"Really, just another day for me. I've been here every day this offseason, so there's been really no break, which is fine. I'm preparing to be 110% and healthy and have the best year of my career. So it's just nice seeing everyone again."
Best year of your career? How will that happen?
"Just preparation and the fact that the way I work and the way I train, I'm gonna make my knee better than it's ever been before, probably better than my right knee and that's the goal. I'm not going there and having a year where everyone says, 'He's not as healthy' or whatnot. There's gonna be no barrier to really hold me back. Been through a lot this year mentally, physically and I think a lot of that pain and aggression will come out. That's the driving force and the driving factor, and when it's go time I'm gonna be there."
Like a lot of guys on this team, you're known for your preparedness. But do you have to be reigned in a little bit? Do guys on the training staff have to tell you to slow down, or do you know all that?
"Absolutely. The fact that I really have prepared differently this offseason has been more rehab and less out of the weight room, really just to get my knee wherever it needs to be. I've taken my time off, but for the most part, I still come in every single day. You gotta know when you need to rest, and you gotta know when you need to go. Now I think everyone's rested enough and it's time to lock in and we'll gradually get to where we need to be."
How much do you enjoy being back around everybody?**
"It's good. It really is, it just feels right. The offseason, when you come in there's no one in the locker room, it's quiet, all the lockers are cleaned out; it's a different feel. When you get everyone around here again you feel the camaraderie. The guys you go to battle with, they're here. And like I said, it just feels right."
What's the easiest part of all this, and what's the toughest part?
"I think the easiest part is just seeing everyone again and coming in and being happy. I think the toughest part is the day in and day out grind. The fact that it's April and you know you're working for a game that will be in September. So there's a lot of time before that. I think just the mental waiting process is the toughest because you want to get out and you want to play so bad."
Is the pain all gone?
"Pain's gone now it's just getting my knee as strong as it needs to be and getting all my field work done. Really just putting my knee though every single test it can endure and it will see on the field. I want to get all that out of my system before I really go out there and start hitting people again and planting and cutting with real force. Once I do that, I'll be completely fine."
But you'd like to hit somebody right now, right?
"I'll wait. It'll all be worth it come September."