While Texans general manager Rick Smith and coach Bill O’Brien locked in on the 2014 NFL draft, linebacker Brian Cushing had a more pressing issue to attend to this weekend: his inaugural youth football camp at Pearland High School.

Teaming with area high school and college coaches, Cushing led a two-day session that featured 350 children in grades 1-8. Sunday was the finale, with Cushing lofting passes to young wide receivers as eager defensive backs attempted to deflect his throws.

For the sixth-year NFL defender, the camp was another step in Cushing’s effort to strengthen his ties to a community he’s increasingly become comfortable in.

“Houston is my home now and it’s something that’s important to me,” said the 27-year-old Cushing, who is originally from New Jersey and starred in college at Southern California. “Growing up, it was just extremely critical to me to be at these camps and learn from pros. … So I know to give back and just to teach anything I know to these kids at this age, to try and instill it in them, is very important.”

Cushing’s primary message to the children who swarmed around him on a sunny, spring morning: If you have a dream, chase it.

“I had plenty of teachers and people telling me, ‘You should probably have a goal besides playing football,’ ” Cushing said. “It’s just one of those things that I feel like if you really want to do it and you have the tools and you stay consistent … to be the best at what you do.”

Cushing has remained directly engaged with the Texans since suffering his second season-ending injury in two years. He’s participated in the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning workouts and was a regular presence in 2013 at the practice facility and during games, following a devastating Week 7 left fibula/lateral-collateral ligament injury.