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Brian Cushing - The Leader of the Texans.

Interview by Craig Shemon of 1560 The Game Radio.

 

Craig: The Texans are playoff bound now. When you arrived in Houston 3 years ago, did you get a sense for how starved this city was for a winning football team? And How gratifying is it to be part of a team that the city can really embrace?

Brian:  You always hear about Texas football no matter where you are, how passionate the fans are, and how special it is to them. There’s been no question about it, its lived up to the expectations. To give back to the city...to give them their first playoff game since 1993, and the first in this organization’s history, has been unbelievable.
CS: You were drafted out of USC, but you were originally from New Jersey. How does a Jersey guy end up in California?

BC: I came from a pretty good program [in high school] and we won a lot. I just like to win. I wanted to play for a good, competitive program with a coach that was just going to let me play. Being recruited by coach Carroll, watching how exciting he has (his scheme), and how much fun his players were having, it was [something] I wanted to be a part of. I didn’t care how far away it was. I knew that college was only a short, four year experience and it was something I definitely wanted to do.
CS: What do you miss most about New Jersey?
BS: You might think I’m crazy but I actually miss the cold weather. I miss the snow, the seasons, and all that kind of stuff. Growing up in it, that’s what you’re used to, that’s what you learn to love and once you’re away from it, you miss it.

CS: The marque story this season has been the drastic turnaround in the defense. Could you have imagined that in one year the team could go from the last-place ranked defense to the first?

BS: I did because I knew the talent we had and our attitude. A lot of our guys were fed up on the defense. We didn’t want to let people down anymore; we didn’t want to make to play poor football. We wanted to come in, take games over, play aggressive, play smart and just play up to our capability. The last three years we didn’t do that, especially last year. With Wade [Phillips] coming in and listening to what he was preaching, it was exciting.

CS: What do you enjoy most about playing for coach Phillips?

BC: I think what he does, better than any other coach I’ve ever experienced, is putting players in positions where he knows they’ll make plays and where he knows they’re going to be comfortable. He switched a lot of things up that people weren’t really sure about but have been perfect for the guys. He knows exactly what he wants and how it wants to do it.

CS: Even among NFL players, you’re a guy that plays with an abnormally high motor and have a tenacious, unrelenting attitude on the field. Where does that intensity come from?

BC: I just know I’m blessed and so fortunate to play this game. I think it’d be a shame to not go out ever Sunday and play as hard as you can when there are millions of people who want to do what you do. I’m just not going to let people down.

CS: Was that something you learned or were you born with that intensity?

BC: I was an intense kid but I think a lot of that came from my dad. I had an older brother and older sister. They never felt bad for me being the youngest one and, being bullied around a lot, you learn to stick up for yourself.

CS: When the story is written about this season, the theme will overwhelmingly be “overcoming adversity.” The Texans have dealt with key injuries all season and the phrase we hear a lot in sports is “next man up.” How do you mentally deal with losing key players to guard against disappointment or let-downs?

BC: You have to be resilient and you got to have a lot of trust in your teammates. You [need to] know that the guy next to you is going to get the job done and he’s going to put it all on the line for you. If you have eleven of those kinds of guys, you have a great chance of winning.