Browns defensive end John Hughes is a happy man. He just signed a four-year, $14.4 million deal with the team that drafted him. He has a 1-year-old son at home and is about to get married.
Hughes tells ESPN.com about his new deal, his role with the Browns -- a run-stopping defensive end who can move all across the line -- and living out a dream.
On the Browns signing Hughes despite him missing 11 games last year with a knee injury: “I was pretty down after the season I had. Being injured for much of the season was hard. Signing early, it’s just a testament to the Browns, the faith they have in me and the confidence in my talent.”
On his hopes to help the Browns’ last-ranked rushing defense: “That’s my goal. Me personally, I consider myself a technician, doing what I’m supposed to do for team and not going out of my role.”
On the outlook of the defensive line: “We have a lot of potential. I was taking to the defensive line coaches before I signed. We were talking about how good this D-line looked before the season, then we had all those injuries and it kind of deflated our sense of joy we had about the whole defensive line. We bounced back and we will again.”
On the feeling of getting a new contract worth $14 million: “It’s hard to top the phone call you get when you get drafted but this is a close second. The work finally paid off.”
On whether he debated waiting a year and hitting the open market after a full season: “It was always a thought in my mind but at the same time I wanted to play here in Cleveland. Being in Ohio and having a passion for the fan base here, it’s always been a dream. It first became a reality when my junior year (at Cincinnati) scouts started asking about me. Now I’m here. Seeing that dream come alive is pretty awesome.”
On his impressions of the Browns’ wild offseason: "I can’t really say what happens with that. I hope it all gets straightened out so we can focus on football but it’s not really my place.”
On life changes on and off the field: “We might do a little celebrating. I have a 15-month-old boy (John IV) and my stepson (Kamron) will be 8 in April. My fiancée (Austreeia) and I are engaged to be married before training camp. So it’s an exciting time. It’s a big year for me right now. I hope I can capitalize on the end of it with a big year.”