Q&A with new Falcons cornerback Mike Hughes

Cornerback Mike Hughes, who has played with the Lions, Chiefs and Vikings, signed a free-agent contract with the Falcons on Monday. (Rich Sugg/The Kansas City Star/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Cornerback Mike Hughes, who has played with the Lions, Chiefs and Vikings, signed a free-agent contract with the Falcons on Monday. (Rich Sugg/The Kansas City Star/TNS)

New Falcons cornerback Mike Hughes, a former first-round draft pick who signed a two-year contract as a free agent, met virtually with the Atlanta media on Monday.

Here’s what the former standout from North Carolina and UCF had to say:

On how much slot he’s played in the NFL: “The last few years I feel like I’ve gotten a (fair) amount of snaps playing slot. Prior to getting into the league, I haven’t played any (slot) at all. But with the experience that I have now, I’m pretty comfortable playing that role. I’ve had a fair amount of snaps in there.”

On his injury history: “I had an ACL my rookie (year), and I dealt with a neck injury in 2019. But since then, I haven’t had any issues with either one. While I’m out there playing, I don’t really think about it. I’ve gotten over that hump to where I trust my body. I’m just going out there having fun and not thinking about it.”

On where he will play: “I’ve been told that they like me in the slot. Everywhere that I’ve been, playing in the slot, things happen during that long 17-week season. So, I see myself playing outside some, too. But wherever they feel is best for me, I’m willing to do it. Whatever I need to do to help the team. That’s what I’ll do.”

On his career with three different teams: “I’ve dealt with some tough injuries. Just being able to be back on the field, through the injuries that I’ve had, I’m just blessed to even have the opportunity to still play the game. No matter if I’m out there starting or not starting, it’s just a blessing to be able to be out there and still play football and just have fun with it, doing what I do. … I feel like I can go anywhere and help any defense. I definitely can get better. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win. That’s the most important thing, I want to win. No matter what happens, that’s the ultimate goal: winning.”

On why he thinks the Falcons are ready to win: “It won’t happen overnight. We’re putting together some pieces to get this thing rolling. I’m just excited to get to work with the guys. I think over the course of building up to the season, I think what is important is that we have to find a foundation to get things rolling. Once we lay down that foundation, we can start really building on getting this thing turned around. I’m looking forward to doing that.”

On how he’ll fit in the defense under new coordinator Ryan Nielsen: “It doesn’t really matter when a franchise wants you. When they want you, you feel like you can fit in anywhere. I wanted to come to a place where I feel wanted. Atlanta was definitely a good opportunity for me. I definitely feel wanted here. Whatever they want me to do and whatever they feel will get the best out of me, I’m willing to do whatever. Like I said, the ultimate goal is to win. … I think we’re putting together some pieces to be ... heading in that direction. I’m looking forward to it.”

On his weight: “I’m 195 right now.”

On why things didn’t work out with the Vikings: “I think a lot of it has to do with injuries. I’m pretty sure that a lot of people, not only Minnesota, didn’t think I would get back healthy. I suffered some pretty serious injuries. So, I can’t really blame them. In this league you have to be available to be productive. I understand that it’s a business. So, I think injuries had a lot to do with it. It’s still all love for those guys over there. There was never any bad blood. I get that it’s a business. Like I said, I think injuries had a lot to do with it.”

On his Falcons sweater and gear: “It just fell onto my chest. That’s all that I can give up ... but it looks good. It just happened. Things happen.”

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