Before training camps kick off, a number of players and some coaches will pay tribute to people who helped them make it to the NFL as part of the AFC South Blog’s summer series: “Early Influence.”
Jerry Hughes, Colts defensive end
“Probably my dad, Jerry Hughes Sr. My dad has always told me, ‘Whenever you step on that field, you’ve got to become a different person, you have to be someone that just has that want-to. Want to go out there and make a play, want to go out there and sacrifice your body. Want to do whatever you can to help the team.’
“So that’s somebody who I always hear his voice in my head, ever since I was a little kid: ‘Step it up on this play, make sure you get better as the plays go on.’
“I’m a completely different person on the field, I don’t know how to describe it or how I make that transformation. It’s just something I am able to do. My personality changes. I’m a lot more laid back person off the field. On the field I am a lot more of an aggressive, assertive person just going out there and doing all he can to make plays.
“… I’m sure he knows I still hear him, because whenever we get on the phone, he points something out or asks, ‘Why didn’t you do this, why did you do that?’ After games we just talk it up.”