While Buffalo had to release numerous veteran players to remain under the salary cap, this goodbye will be the hardest for Bills Mafia since the 33-year-old defensive end was the team’s longest-tenured player and a fan favorite.
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On Tuesday, May 10, NFL Insider Jordan Schultz tweeted that Hughes was signing with the Houston Texans, and later that evening, the former first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts from the 2010 NFL Draft penned an emotional goodbye to the team he called home for nine years.
Hughes wrote on Instagram, “To the Pegula’s, my teammates, coaches & staff and of course BillsMafia. I am so thankful for the people I’ve met and friendships that were formed. It’s been an amazing 9years, my family and I enjoyed it all. Forever grateful & unbelievably blessed.”
While Hughes only recorded 6.5 sacks over the past two seasons, he had 51 pressures and has been one of the most reliable players on the Bills’ roster. Since 2013, he’s never missed a game. There was just one game for which he was a healthy scratch — the team’s regular-season finale — but that was only after the Bills had clinched the postseason.
“Hughes has graded out in the 90th percentile or higher of edge defenders in pass-rush grade and pass-rush win rate over the past three seasons, according to @PFF,” Schultz added. “Good addition for the #Texans’ defense.”
Josh Allen’s Girlfriend Brittany Williams Said Buffalo ‘Will Never Be the Same’ Without Hughes & His Wife
After the news of Hughes’ departure from Buffalo was official, Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s girlfriend Brittany Williams, who grew particularly close with Hughes’ wife, Meghan Hughes, shared two moving goodbye messages on Instagram.
Williams first commented on Hughes’ post. She wrote, “😭😭😭😭😭😭 We love the Hughes & Buffalo will never be the same. Congrats on your new adventures! But you can’t get rid of us, football family for life ❤️❤️❤️ @iam_mrshughes.”
On Tuesday, May 11, Williams shared another message on her Instagram stories. She wrote, “My. heart!!!!!” over a photo group photo including Hughes, his wife, and Allen.
“And Buffalo was never the same… The Hughes will be so missed. I don’t have one memory here that doesn’t have you guys in it. So excited for your next chapter but you can’t get rid of us that easily, football family forever. Love ya’ll.”
As a footnote, she added, “9 years in Buffalo… put them in the Hall of Fame!”
Hughes Will Be Reuntied With Ex-Bills DE Mario Addison in Texas
Hughes will be returning to his home state, as the TCU alum was born in Sugar Land, Texas, and he’ll already have a familiar face as a teammate. Last week, the Texans signed former Bills defensive end Mario Addison, 34, to a two-year contract, per Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson.
Addison spent two years with the Bills, during which he appeared in 32 games, starting seven of them. During his tenure in Buffalo, the undrafted defensive end out of Troy University recorded 59 tackles, 12 sacks, two forced fumbles, and four passes defended.
Before joining the Bills in 2019, Addison played for numerous teams across the NFL, including the Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders, Indianapolis Colts, and the Carolina Panthers.
One of the big pulls bringing the two former Buffalo linemen down to Houston could be Texans defensive line coach, Jacques Cesaire, who was previously an assistant for the Bills.