The longest-tenured Buffalo Bill saw his time with the team come to an end this week when he signed with the Houston Texans. Defensive end Jerry Hughes had been a staple on the Bills for the past nine seasons. Hughes was a bright spot, in a dark era of Bills football, known as the drought. A fan favorite and reliable player, Buffalo will miss the respected professional on the edge of their defense, and in the community.
The Trade for Hughes
The Jerry Hughes trade will go down as one of the best trades in Bills’ franchise history. In April of 2013, the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts made a player swap trade. The Bills sent former 2011 third-round linebacker, Kelvin Sheppard, to the Colts, for former 2011 first-round selection, Jerry Hughes. Hughes was slumping early in his career in Indy, and Shepherd was off to an okay start in Buffalo. A change of scenery was thought to be best for both players. As it would turn out, the change of scenery for Hughes literally saved his career. The former first-round pick out of TCU would stick around in Buffalo for nine successful seasons. Shepherd would bounce around teams and eventually be done playing. Since then, Sheppard has turned to coaching, while Hughes continues to play very well.
Hughes’ Success for the Buffalo Bills
Jerry Hughes survived multiple coaching staffs and two general managers since he arrived in Buffalo. While Hughes did not get a taste of the playoffs with Buffalo until 2017, he still had much success. In his nine years, Hughes amassed 350 total tackles, 53 sacks, one interception, 16 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, and two touchdowns. Availability is the best ability in the NFL and Hughes only missed an insane one game throughout his whole Buffalo career. When the Buffalo Bills finally got back to being a consistent playoff team, Hughes made sure to show up. In 7 career playoff games with the Bills, Hughes posted seven sacks. Hughes’ 53 sacks are currently good for fourth all-time in franchise history.
A Starving Franchise
One of, if not the most passionate fans in sports, Bills Mafia, endured years of losing football. One thing they always had pride in was a solid team defense. Hughes helped that case by being a consistently productive player on the edge. In his first two seasons in Buffalo, he posted back-to-back 10 sack seasons. He quickly became a fan favorite, on Jim Schwartz’s “Cold Front” defense. Hughes gave Bills fans a player to take pride in when there were few to take pride in and gave loyalty to the franchise. His name is right up there with fan-favorite legends, Fred Jackson, and Kyle Williams. A light in the darkness for Bills Mafia, they let him know on social media after his signing with the Texans, how much he meant and still means to them. Many are even clamoring for his name to be put on the wall of fame in their new stadium.