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Houston LB Brian Cushing signs six-year, $55.6M contract extension

Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has signed a six-year, $55.6 million contract extension.

General manager Rick Smith announced the deal on Wednesday, saying "it's a big day for the franchise." The deal includes $21 million guaranteed.

Cushing was in the last year of the deal he signed as a rookie in 2009. The 26-year-old linebacker returned to the field this summer after sustaining a season-ending knee injury in Week 5 of last season. It will keep him with the team through the 2019 season.

The Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2009, he saw limited action in preseason after surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. But the Texans expect him to start in the opener Monday at San Diego.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org