"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."
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"I just think he plays with a very, very, very high motor," Lewis said. "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."
Their similarities are striking.
Each is the emotional core of his unit. Both faced early career adversity -- Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in 2000 in order to avoid murder charges and a likely prison sentence, while Cushing was suspended for four games in 2010 for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs -- and seemingly have moved on, undaunted.
And both demand a considerable amount of attention from the opposition's offense, which is how it's always been for Lewis and has become routine for Cushing.
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