Draft serves as a homecoming for USC’s Cushing

(Jeff Golden / Getty Images)

Brian Cushing grew up in the New York suburb of Park Ridge, N.J., as a huge fan of the draft. (Jeff Golden / Getty Images)

In a few short hours, fans will be lining the stands inside Radio City Music Hall, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will approach the podium to signal the start of the draft and the nine prospects here in the Green Room will nervously wait for their name to be called.

One of those nine prospects here — LB Brian Cushing — has a unique perspective on the event. The USC star grew up in the New York suburb of Park Ridge, N.J., as a huge fan of the draft.

“I watch it every year,” an excited Cushing told reporters on Friday at an NFL Play 60 event in Central Park.

But this year, unlike past years when he was among the millions watching at home, Cushing will actually be a participant.

Unlike his highly touted college teammates at USC (QB Mark Sanchez, LB Rey Maualuga and LB Clay Matthews), who are not here in New York for the draft, Cushing is thrilled to have been invited.

“It’s something that you don’t think is actually going to happen, so it’s special,” said Cushing. “I was actually on the plane, so I had a missed call. And I came back after that and they called me again, and (I told them) of course! Yes!”

Cushing was then asked this question by Zack Laurinaitis, a teenage reporter from the Connecticut Student Athlete Magazine, who happens to be the cousin of top linebacker prospect James Laurinaitis: What is the best part about being Brian Cushing right now?

The former Trojan wasted little time blurting out a response, “Being home. Just to be back home is awesome.”

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