The Indianapolis Colts gave up on Jerry Hughes, shipping him off to Western New York for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. So, yeah, he has every reason to be extra juiced for Sunday's season opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Not that he is.
The former Colts' first-round pick repeated several times that he's only viewing Sunday as "Week 1 of the NFL."
"You still have the emotions surrounding that," Hughes said. "You’re excited.”
In three seasons with the Colts, the former TCU pass rusher only managed five sacks and started only seven games. And in Buffalo, he experienced a career renaissance in two different defenses. With Mike Pettine, he had 10 sacks. And then with Jim Schwartz, he proved that was no fluke with another 10 sacks. In a division still owned by Tom Brady (and possibly a budding star in Ryan Tannehill), a viable pass rush is a necessity.
So last offseason, the Bills inked Hughes to a five-year, $45 million deal. Like Marcell Dareus, he'll be around for the long haul.
Does he feel vindication? Motivation? Anything?
“It’s Week 1 of the National Football League," he said. "If you’re not excited about Week 1 of the National Football League, you shouldn’t play football. I’ll tell you that right now.”
Maybe so. Then again, Sheppard only last one season with the Colts.
Hughes is told the Colts gave up on him.
“I could care less. I honestly could care less," Hughes said. "I’m worried about the Buffalo Bills and how we can win the AFC East. That’s my only focus.”
Asked if he ever cared about it at one point, Hughes said that once he arrived in Buffalo the only thing he carried about was getting "an AFC East banner" in the rafters.
Said Hughes, "That’s my goal.”