Cushing hangs around until training camp

Houston Texans inside linebacker Brian Cushing, a player you could argue is the heart of the team's defense, has been watching and waiting from the sideline mostly throughout the voluntary offseason program. Cushing suffered a torn LCL and broken leg last October and isn't expected to participate in organized team activities.

Monday, coach Bill O'Brien said Cushing will be ready for training camp.

This injury has been a bit easier for Cushing to overcome than his torn ACL from 2012.

"Obviously I was cleared a lot earlier," Cushing said. "I wasn’t cleared until like summer last year. Kind of the whole rehab process, it was a lot harder getting into shape and just my leg strength and all that responded a lot quicker this year."

During this learning portion of the offseason, though, Cushing has stuck around long enough that he's not falling behind.

"Just try to stay in (linebackers coach Mike) Vrabel’s ear right now, his hip pocket, just trying to learn everything with him and Romeo," Cushing said recently. "I thought it was a really good first day and obviously since I’m not practicing I have to get as many mental reps as I can."

Said Vrabel: "He’s at every meeting. He’s there. He’s conscientious, he’s making the calls. I know he’s studying. And it’s important now that he’s getting mental reps. He’s staying in tune with the team. He’s not a distraction. He’s focused on learning the defense and being a leader."