Hall of Fame
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Challis, ID
Re: Brian Cushing & Wife play Santa on Christmas
Bruised and beaten
No one has blessed Cushing on the football field. At least not when it's truly mattered.
The raging modern warrior - running eye-black, overstuffed arms, guttural growls - has been disposable and discarded in back-to-back heartbreaking seasons. In 2012, Cushing was forced to watch the best year in franchise history from afar, after he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in Week 5. He rehabbed like mad, vowing to be more beast-like and a fiercer animal when he returned. In 2013, Cushing was forced to watch the worst season in franchise history with glazed eyes after breaking his left fibula and tearing his lateral collateral ligament in Week 7 at Kansas City.
He called Megan from the Texans' training room after wasted knee No. 2. The initial conversation felt worse than the injury.
"Oh my God," she said. "The first time around, I was hysterical. The second time around, I saw it happen, and I knew. And I just thought to myself, he told me, 'I rehabbed that whole time with the ACL and if I tear my ACL again, I don't think I can honestly go through the whole thing again.' … I was hysterical. But he'll be back and he's so determined."
This time, it was only Cushing's LCL and he's eyeing an early 2014 green light. During the interim, the soon-to-be father of two - Megan's eight weeks pregnant with the couple's second child - is making up for the years when his entire life was devoted to a sport. He's become more of a husband, more of a father and more of a man.
"It's a completely different world and aspect as a football player and as a person, because there's so much more to my life than playing football," Cushing said. "It's been huge. And it's just opened my eyes up to the many more things that are out there."
Five hours after her Dec. 19 surprise Christmas, Smith was heading to the store. She had money to buy groceries. She had a house filled with warmth and light that would stay hot and lit. She'd been given a breather. But she also knew the Cushings' open hand was only a temporary reprieve.
"It's still going to be a challenge," Smith said.
A few hours after loading up Smith's house, smiling for endless pictures and watching Darius ride his new bicycle while wearing a bright-red No. 56 jersey, Cushing stood outside his car as Reliant Stadium towered above. Texans players walked by, heading toward flashy vehicles after another long practice day during a lost season. Cushing was barely noticed. But he kept speaking and finding new meaning.
"I'm going to make the most out of this opportunity," Cushing said. "I'm not going to let it slip by and waste this time. I'm going to capitalize on it."
Then it was back to dad duties.
Cushing already had changed Cayden's diaper in the middle of delivering presents. While his wife reflected on a Christmas the couple would remember the rest of their lives, Cushing fully disappeared, briefly removing himself from the Texans, the NFL and everything that had allowed him to light up a stranger's world.
"Honestly, I would say this is one of the top three days of my life," Megan said.
This is one of those Chronicle articles that's a little tough to access, so I took the liberty of posting it in its entirety.