Syracuse offensive lineman Justin Pugh is part of Senior Bowl history this week. The Pittsburgh native is one of two non-seniors eligible to participate in the Senior Bowl. It’s the first time in the 64-year history of the game non-seniors have been allowed to play. Pugh and Alabama offensive lineman D.J. Fluker were given clearance to play since they both earned their degrees and had been in school for four years.
For Pugh, it wasn’t just the NFL and the Senior Bowl that had to give him the OK. He had to get it from his Mother also.
“My mom told me that if I ever wanted to play in the NFL, I had to get my degree first,” Pugh told The John Murphy Show, at the Senior Bowl in Mobile this week. “She’s a teacher so she’s real big on education. Before the season even started, she said you better take enough classes so you can graduate, or you’re not going anywhere.”
Pugh graduated from Syracuse last month with a degree in finance. And he’s interested in that, or perhaps broadcasting, as a post-football career.
For now, his focus is on football, and after being selected All-Big East for the last few years, Pugh has a chance to make a good living in the NFL. The 6-5 301 pounder got reps at tackle and guard Monday, on the first day of Senior Bowl workouts in Mobile. He wants to make an impression this week as he works out in front of NFL coaches and scouts.
“I want people to say I compete and I’m a tough kid,” he said. “That’s something I take pride in, going out here and being physical and being a smart player. I want them to know I can pick up the playbook and run with it.”
Pugh played all three years of his college career for Doug Marrone, the new Head Coach of the Bills. And he says Bills fans will like what they see of Marrone once he settles into the job.
“They should be excited. Just look what he did with the Syracuse program. It was probably one of the darkest times in program history when we first got there in ’09, and to where we are now, it’s very respectable program. Two bowl games in three years, we should have gone to three in three years but we kinda faltered in 2011. He’s very disciplined, I think that’s something that teams need that are trying to find that winning mentality. I think he brings that to the table. I’m excited to see what he does and hopefully we can work together in the future.”
The John Murphy Show will broadcast live from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama at 7pm Tuesday and Wednesday. The show airs on the flagship station of the Bills, WGR Sports Radio 550.
Tags: Doug Marrone, Justin Pugh, Senior Bowl, The John Murphy Show
Posted in Inside the Bills