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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
John Dillon

Texans’ Jerry Hughes plays big brother for all rookie DE

Jerry Hughes is one of the NFL’s most experienced defensive lineman, and on a team that is as inexperienced as the Houston Texans are heading into the 2023 season, expectations for his role as a mentor are at an all-time high.

A former 2010 first-round pick, it would seem only natural Hughes spent most of his time giving pointers to No. 3 overall pick Will Anderson. However, Hughes has a whole brotherhood that needs his direction.

“Yeah, I mean, [I mentor] all the young guys, honestly,” Hughes told reporters June 13 after mandatory minicamp.

Two of the other defensive ends in the room are fourth-rounder Dylan Horton — a former TCU product like Hughes — and undrafted Ali Gaye from LSU.

“All those guys, I try to be their big bro, whatever questions they have,” said Hughes. “I kind of seen it all in the NFL. Off the field, on the field, whatever they have, I try to be there for those guys. They’ve been here the entire off-season giving it their all, asking a lot of questions. That’s what we want. We need them to win games this year, so I’m excited.”

That excitement is sure to pay off if the Texans’ younger contributors can make sparks fly under his direction during the 2023 season. With a new coaching staff and revamped roster in place, Hughes may see his role on the field diminish over the course of Houston’s schedule.

The work Hughes is putting in now to acclimate the first and second-year talent on the team’s roster will make him an indispensable part of the Texans’ defense.

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