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Thursday, January 12, 2012
Ray Lewis respects Brian Cushing's game

By Jamison Hensley

Two of the top inside linebackers in the AFC will be on the field Sunday when the Ravens and Texans meet in a divisional playoff game. The Ravens' defense is still led by 36-year-old Ray Lewis, while the centerpiece of the Texans' defense is 24-year-old Brian Cushing.

Some believe Cushing should have been selected to the Pro Bowl over Lewis, and Cushing said he would use the snub as motivation. Lewis, for one, is a fan of Cushing.

“I just think he plays with a very, very, very high motor,” Lewis said in a conference call with Houston reporters, via The Houston Chronicle. “It’s one special thing that every linebacker, a good linebacker, has to have. And that is one thing that I appreciate about the way he plays football.”

Cushing was voted the Texans' Most Valuable Player by teammates. He led the NFL's second-ranked defense with 76 solo tackles. No one on the Texans had more than 73 total tackles.

In many ways, Cushing is trying to become the Texans' version of Lewis.

“Ray’s the best that’s ever played,” Cushing said. “He’s the guy I grew up watching. He’s the guy I wanted to model my game after.”