Ex-Packer on Rocky Departure From Team: It ‘Left a Scar’

Hyde Packers "Scar"

Getty Strong safety Micah Hyde #23 of the Buffalo Bills during the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium on December 07, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. The Bills defeated the 49ers 34-24.

Even four years later, Micah Hyde hasn’t forgotten about the “scar” the Green Bay Packers left on him during his first stint in NFL free agency.

After the Buffalo Bills announced Friday they had signed the veteran safety to a two-year contract extension, Hyde was asked later during a Zoom call with reporters what it means to him for the team to recommit to him before he was allowed to become an unrestricted free agent — especially after how things ended with Green Bay in 2017.

The Packers notably left Hyde out in the cold during 2017 free agency and allowed him to sign a five-year, $30.5 million contract with Buffalo, where he went on to have a Pro Bowl year and become a fixture for the Bills defense throughout their recent rise. He later told reporters during his first year in Buffalo that Green Bay had told him before the 2016 season ended that they were no longer interested in bringing him back.

Here’s what Hyde said about the Packers while reflecting on Friday:

“It’s an amazing situation to be in. Like you talked about with Green Bay — you know me. I mean, we have conversations all the time. I talk about how I’m so into this football stuff and trying to make my team better and all that. And then, after the four years I was in Green Bay, they said, ‘Ehh, you know, just go ahead and walk. We’re not going to offer you anything.’ It kind of left a scar, man. I’m not gonna lie, but I think it was a pivotal point in my career to where I really looked at myself in the mirror and said, ‘We’ve got to really change this thing and get better. I think with the opportunity I got in Buffalo, it just came hand in hand.”

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Hyde Has Mentioned Packers’ Rejection Before

Back in 2016, Hyde didn’t come into the season with thoughts of it being his last with the Packers, but he later revealed the realization hit when his agent called him that November and told him the team was planning to let him hit the market as a free agent. They didn’t even make him a contract offer.

“It was eye-opening,” Hyde said in December 2017, via NYup.com. “It was like somebody stabbed me in my back because I still had to play for that team for the next whatever. But I played my best football I’ve ever played. Maybe when I get stabbed in the back it makes me play a little better. It was frustrating at the time, but God has a plan and it all worked out for me.”

The most the Packers ever said about the matter came in the immediate aftermath of Hyde’s signing with Buffalo when then-general manager Ted Thompson expressed some regret about not offering a new deal to Hyde. According to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, he called Hyde was one of his “all-time favorites” and said he was “sorry it didn’t work out.”

Hyde’s Improved Since Leaving Green Bay

There’s no doubt that Hyde was an immediate hit for Buffalo. After being used as a do-it-all defensive back in Dom Capers’ defensive system with the Packers, Hyde settled in solely as the Bills’ starting strong safety and tallied 82 tackles, 13 passes defended and five interceptions — all career-high marks — while starting in every game. The result was his first career selection to the Pro Bowl and quick fame among Bills fans.

While he transitioned to free safety after the 2018 season, Hyde has continued to play at a high level over the past two seasons and helped turn the Bills’ defense into one of the better units in the league. And clearly, Buffalo’s front office agreed, as they just signed him to a $19.25 million contract extension a full year before he was set to hit free agency.

“We felt like when we got there in ’17, the organization obviously wasn’t where we’d want it to be, and I thought the last couple years we were able to turn the thing around,” Hyde said. “I would’ve had a big empty pit in my stomach if I were to have ended up anywhere else, because this team is headed in the right direction.”

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