Sporting a red Buffalo Bills hoodie and a towel around his neck, Bills safety Micah Hyde was back in the team facility Wednesday. Hyde had been away from the team in recent weeks after he was placed on Injured Reserve on Sept. 24 due to a neck injury and underwent surgery earlier this month.
Hyde's presence was a welcome sight not only for Bills players and coaches, but for Hyde himself who admitted it's been tough to have his season cut short. Hyde can count on one hand the amount of games he's missed in his NFL career.
"It hurt a little bit, just being away from the guys," Hyde said.
Hyde took time Wednesday to share his experience with the neck injury, the surgery that was required and his plans for the future.
During Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football, Hyde left the game in the second half with a neck injury. It was overshadowed by another scary neck injury suffered by a Bills player in the first half as CB Dane Jackson had to leave the field in an ambulance.
Hyde, too, had to leave later that night in an ambulance after his injury but that wasn't disclosed until Tuesday morning after the game had already ended.
"What happened that Monday night was something that just was eye-opening to me. And I understand that this is a violent game. This is – anything can happen on any given night, but that was just real eye-opening to me, hopping in the ambulance after or during the game and going to the hospital with my wife. I got a two-year old, and a one-year old and so, that life was put right in front of me, and it kind of scared me a little bit," Hyde shared.
The injury was a result of previous less serious neck injuries compounding with the one against the Titans.
"It's something I've been dealing with playing for many years. It's something that scared me that I didn't think it was possible. And then it happened. And, you know, here we are," Hyde said.
Hyde decided to get surgery in early October, effectively ending his 2022 season. He said the surgery went "amazing" and Hyde has since been resting and spending time with family in San Diego until returning to Buffalo recently.
He will remain in Buffalo to continue to heal and then start his rehab when the doctors say the time is right.
"Excited to be back," Hyde said. "I'm here for the rest of the year. So, there's not much I can do right now. It's kind of just time to heal. But once I'm able to do all that, I'll be here, I'll be doing it here."
As the former All-Pro adjusts to life back in Buffalo, he'll also be adjusting to a different role while not playing. There's no defined role yet for Hyde other than the fact he'll be on the sidelines for Bills home games the rest of the season — just not in uniform.
"I'm just in the building, I'm trying to help out the young guys. And obviously, as far as rehab goes, I'm not able to do everything, do a lot of stuff yet," Hyde said. "I'm excited for this rehab process. And it's kind of a new role for me."
McDermott was asked whether Hyde could be utilized as an additional coach but wouldn't go that far in his assessment of Hyde's new role.
"I wouldn't use that label, he just carries so much influence as a leader on our football team. He's still on our football team so he doesn't really want to put on that coach's hat. I tried to offer that to him, but I guess my size hat didn't fit him. We're happy to have him back though overall. He's got such a great family and like I said just the energy that he brings, the influence, the leadership," McDermott said.
Whether Hyde puts on a coach hat or not, his teammates are glad to have No. 23 around again on a daily basis.
"It's great to have Micah back because he's one of our captains. And you need his perspective on everything. He's had so much knowledge and just his energy being in the locker room, it helps us," linebacker Von Miller said.
'Coming for it'
One of the more difficult parts of the injury for Hyde to accept is the fact he won't be able to contribute on the field to what has the potential to be a special season for the Bills.
"I think that was the most difficult thing for me, especially being away, knowing that a lot of the hard work, whether if it's studying film, or working out, and all these years, to finally be in the position that we're in, to know that we have a shot to, again, to win the Super Bowl, that I couldn't be," Hyde said.
"I might not be a part of it. But then I thought again, and I'm like, 'I am a part of it. I'm here, I'm helping the guys out.' It's a new role for me, but like I said, I'm excited to attack this rehab process."
As for the 2023 season, Hyde is aiming to get himself ready to play.
"Yeah, I'm coming for it in '23.
The Bills practice in the ADPRO Sports fieldhouse to prepare for Sunday night's game against the Packers.