Former New York Giants guard and first-round pick Justin Pugh was “humbled” by the entire process of being a free agent in the NFL.
Early Wednesday morning, Jordan Raanan of ESPN had a chance to speak with former New York Giants guard Justin Pugh. The former 2013 first-round selection was holding his annual “Pugh Crew Summer Kickoff” football camp in Bucks County, PA.
Pugh spoke on the free agency process he had to endure this offseason for the first time in his career. The former Giant signed a five-year $45 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals in March. This puts him with the only other organization he’s been with since the Giants drafted him five years prior.
Overall, Pugh mentioned how it was a process like no other, but how he was able to stay confident through it all. “It was a crazy process,” Pugh said.
“Coming off an injury, coming off the season that we had, you get humbled a little bit. That is kind of what happened. You win three games in a season, not many things are going to go well for you.”
It was a season that of course wasn’t great, to say the least, for anyone within the Giants organization. And for Pugh, it wasn’t much better at all. The left guard missed eight games with a back injury. The Giants eventually put him on season-ending injured reserve on Dec. 14. Once free agency started, it seemed the Giants weren’t going to bring him back, as they signed former Jaguars guard, Patrick Omameh.
Pugh stated that it “started to worry” him as time went on. “So once I knew New York was out of the question — I didn’t even talk to New York — once I knew it wasn’t going to happen I was like, ‘[Andrew] Norwell, go to New York so every other guard team is out there.'”
However, the worrying ended when the Cardinals called three days into free agency. Coming off a back injury is a problem when looking for a new team to sign you, especially as an offensive lineman. But Pugh stayed humble and confident, and was able to get his chance with a new organization.
No hard feelings are with Pugh nor the Giants either. Pugh stated he doesn’t “blame the Giants at all.” Arizona was just the right place for him, and he hopes to be a Cardinal for a very long time.