Sports Illustrated has an interview with WWE SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan, ahead of his return on tonight's episode of SmackDown Live. Below are a couple of highlights:

The last time he spoke with CM Punk:

"I haven't talked to Punk since I texted him when he came on the UFC show in a suit and said he was going to fight in the UFC. I just texted him and said, 'Hey man, I just saw that and think it's awesome. I hope you do great.' Punk texted back, 'Thanks.' That's the last I've heard from him. I've always respected and appreciated Punk, but we never really hung out. We came from the same route, but we didn't necessarily hang out in the same circles. I've always had a great appreciation and respect for his hard work."

Returning to the ring:

"I'm working on it. Wrestling is more of a creative outlet, and especially for somebody like me, I view it as my creative outlet. Not all WWE superstars and not all wrestlers view it that way, but that's how I view it and that's one of the ways my mind works creatively.

"I always think of it in terms of music. You're not always going to be a huge rock star in music, but musicians can play until the day they die. With sports, it's different. You can't always do it until the very end, and that's a hard reality of sports. The blessings wrestling has given me have allowed me to find some new passions, but it's really hard when you've got that first love and nothing really replaces it."

Bryan also discussed working with Shane McMahon, criticism of the "Superstar Shake-Up", his first Father's Day as a dad, his critiques of The Miz and more. You can check out the full interview by clicking here.

damien demento contributed to this article. Follow Raj Giri on Twitter at @RajGiri_303. Got a news tip or correction? Send it to us by clicking here.