Jerry Hughes returning to training camp is the perfect time for Hughes and the Buffalo Bills.
At the start of training camp, the Buffalo Bills had only one player placed on the non-football injury (NFI) list. That player was defensive end Jerry Hughes, who suffered a calf strain working out before training camp.
The veteran pass rusher on Tuesday was removed from that list and is now set to practice, according to the team’s website. Jerry Hughes is the longest-tenured player on the roster, joining the team in 2013 after they traded with the Indianapolis Colts and is a leader for this defense.
The return of Jerry Hughes comes at a perfect time as it will still give Hughes a few weeks of training camp to get into game shape before Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It would be surprising to see him play much in preseason games but getting those extra practices should help.
The absence of Hughes in the early part of training camp could also be considered a positive. The biggest reason is that the team did bring in a number of defensive ends this offseason after drafting Greg Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr. in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft while also signing free agent Efe Obada.
The fact that Hughes hasn’t been practicing, freed up practice reps for some of these younger players which should help them and hopefully not make the learning curve as steep. Rousseau in particular has taken advantage of the extra practice reps and has looked great, as Matthew Bove with WKBW tweeted last week.
The extra reps were great but with the first regular season game less than a month away, it was important for Jerry Hughes to get back on the field and playing with the first-team defense. It is never great to see a player miss time due to injuries but there were certainly some positives that came from it.