Meet Gary. Jerry Hughes' alter ego

November 2, 2017

Every football player has to be a little different on the field than they are off of it.  The key for most is striking the right balance.  Or in the case of Jerry Hughes, completely changing who they are.

Meet Gary Hughes.  Jerry’s alter ego.  He’s the one who wears jersey number 55 and lines up next to Kyle Williams and the rest of the Bills defense on game day.  Gary is much different than Jerry.  He has to be.

At home, Jerry is a loving husband and father to his 1-year old son.  On the field, his job is to put quarerbacks into the ground.  “Oh, I know I can’t do things at home that I have to do on the football field,” Jerry tells me while standing in front of his locker after a practice.  “I have to be a different person.”

Gary has been with (or is it inside?  Or next to?) Jerry since he/they were playing college football at TCU.  When Jerry was playing high school football in Sugar Land, Texas, he was an outstanding running back, rushing for 1,412 yards and 19 touchdowns his senior year, adding another 215 yards receiving and three TDs.  But when he got to Texas Christian, the coaches decided to convert him to a defensive player.

Enter Gary.

“I knew I had to play with a different mentality,” Hughes said.  “I had to find a way to get meaner and nastier.”

Whether it’s the meaner or nastier Gary, or just the talent of Jerry, it worked and is still working.  Hughes collected 26.5 sacks over his final two seasons at TCU and was selected in the first round of the 2010 draft by the Indianapolis Colts.  

Now in his fifth season with the Bills after being traded prior to 2013, Hughes has 34 sacks in Buffalo, good for ninth in franchise history.  He’s one of only four Bills’ players to have multiple ten-sack seasons.  

When those accolades are put together, its “Jerry” who gets the credit on the stat sheet, even if he’s only the front man for Gary.  

But when it comes to any personal foul penalties Hughes is called for?  “Oh, that’s definitely all on Gary,” he laughs.  

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