The Reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year in the NFL Has Turned to MMA this Off-season

The Reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year in the NFL Has Turned to MMA this Off-season

Brian Cushing ended up being drafted 15th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft, but there was no defensive player that was better than him as a rookie.  The Texans have been looking for a tackling machine and an impact player to play alongside of DeMeco Ryans and that’s exactly what Cushing brought to Houston last year.  Not only was he named Defenisve Rookie of the Year in the NFL, but he became one of the leaders on a young Texans defense.

After a great rookie season, he is going into his 2nd year in the NFL and has taken a new approach to training in the off-season.  He, along with some other NFL Players have turned to an unconventional approach to training, have put down the shoulder pads and helmet, and have turned to MMA.  Former UFC Champion Randy Couture and Fox Sports Football Insider Jay Glazer have started training NFL players such as Jared Allen, Matt Leinart, and now Brian Cushing.  It’s a much different way for them to train and stay in shape and I guess we’ll know how successful it is when we watch Cushing play on Sundays.Brian Cushing joined KILT in Houston with Rich and Robert to talk about his MMA training in the off-season, whether or not he thinks it’s going to catch on, why it’s so helpful, and whether or not he thinks he can be better than last season.

On how his MMA training is going:

“It’s been going great.  We’ve been doing it three or four times a week.  Just the conditioning and the kind of training that we’ve been doing is so unique and everything has really worked out.  It’s been a great off-season.”
On whether he would turn in his helmet and shoulder pads to get inside a cage and fight MMA:
“Man I think I’d need a little more training and expertise to get in there.  I don’t know.  I’m good on the football field for now right now.”

On Jay Glazer’s approach to this training:

“The biggest thing is Jay understands the role he’s taking as a guy he’s training.  He understand there’s a ton of responsibility and accountability the coaches are giving him to train his players.  He knows the situation, he knows we’re not professional fighters, he knows we’re professional football players.  That’s what he’s training us for.  Not for the fights but to keep us healthy, to keep us safe, and to get us more flexible and more aware of our surroundings out there on the field.”

On getting his teammates like DeMeco Ryans to train with him:

“Yeah, hopefully next year.  DeMeco is a little tied up this year and OTA’s are right around the corner already.  I think DeMeco will probably stick to the Houston training for now and get the season underway.  Hopefully next year we can get him out there.”

On whether or not more players will start to use this approach:

“I don’t see why not.  Not only is it very good for you, but it’s kind of a release now and it’s different from training all year ‘round, lifting weights, and doing all that kind of stuff.  Now you can go into the gym and do this and basically get a three or four hour workout done in one hour with this kind of stuff.”

On how much better he can get:

“I think a lot to be honest with you.  There were a ton of games last year I was just playing on instinct and almost maligned out there.  Being a rookie, not having the experience, and just going out there and learning the defense while you’re in the middle of the season, it’s just a whole adapting process.  Now being in the system, knowing the coaches, having the players around me, there’s only one way up now.  The only way up now is where we’re going and that’s where I feel like I can go.”

Lynn Swann Weighs In

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