The 2022 offseason brought ambiguity for Jerry Hughes.
The Buffalo Bills defensive end didn’t know where he would end up playing his 13th season in the NFL.
As the offseason dragged on, the Houston Texans became an attractive destination — not so much because the former Sugar Land Stephen F. Austin High School product would get to play for his hometown team, but because some former Buffalo Bills influences were there.
Assistant defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire took the promotion to defensive line coach under new coach Lovie Smith. The Texans also signed former Bills defensive end Mario Addison, who Smith actually worked with in 2011 with the Chicago Bears.
When Addison signed with the Texans, Hughes had to see what compelled him to go to Houston.
“Mario signed probably about a week before me and then once I saw his news break across, I was watching one of the local channels here, just seeing his name, it threw me off,” Hughes told reporters on June 1 after organized team activities at Houston Methodist Training Center.
When Hughes was able to get a hold of Addison, his former Buffalo teammate was raving about Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme.
“I gave him a call and he was talking scheme,” Hughes said. “I’m a big football guy. I love to hear the scheme and as far as what he was saying about Lovie was talking about, about how we get to play fast, we are not thinking, we’re reading keys, getting off the ball, that’s something that I wanted to be a part of.”
Naturally the opportunity to play in the greater Houston area was appealing for Hughes, who will turn 34 on Aug. 13.
Said Hughes: “Then being home, being able to do that from home and still be a part of my kid’s life where I can take them to the swim team practice and things like that, that’s just like icing on the cake right now. So, I’m just having a great time.”
The Texans are hopeful that part of Hughes’ great time with the club includes fortifying the pass rush. Hughes collected 2.0 through 17 games last year with the Bills.