Former All-Pro Micah Hyde on playing future: 'It's Bills or retire'

Fan-favorite Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde, who is currently a free agent, is not interested in finishing his career elsewhere.
Nov 26, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde (23) against the
Nov 26, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde (23) against the / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as they never have to worry about seeing stalwart safety Micah Hyde wear the uniform of another NFL club.

The fanbase, in fact, may see the veteran don the iconic ‘charging Buffalo’ helmet again before long.

Hyde, who started 95 games at safety for the Buffalo Bills throughout his seven years with the team, departed the franchise this offseason as a free agent, his exit coinciding with the releases of Jordan Poyer and Tre’Davious White to create a mass exodus in Buffalo’s secondary.

Related: 2024 NFL Schedule Release Roundup: Everything to know about Bills' 2024 slate

The 33-year-old, however, has not yet signed with a new team, this inaction not prompted by a lack of interest, but by a lack of certainty. Hyde has not yet determined whether he’s going to play another season; if he does return for his 12th professional campaign, however, it will be with the Bills.

While speaking to the media ahead of the annual Micah Hyde Charity Softball Game (scheduled to occur this year on May 19 at Sahlen Field), the two-time All-Pro stated that he’s not interested in finishing his career elsewhere—if he plays next year, it will be in Buffalo.

“It’s Bills or retire,” Hyde said, per WGR550’s Sal Capaccio. The reporter also tweeted that the defensive back stated there’s “no rush” in determining his playing future.

While Hyde still played at a high level throughout the 2023 NFL season to the tune of 54 tackles, seven pass deflections, and two interceptions, his uncertainty is understandable; he missed the vast majority of the 2022 season after suffering a neck injury in a Week 2 win over the Tennessee Titans, an ailment the veteran described as an “eye-opening” experience that made him recontextualize football now that he’s a husband and father.

He returned for the 2023 season but again missed games throughout the year, suffering several stingers over the course of the campaign. He officially became a free agent in March, the emotional letter to Bills Mafia shared by his wife on social media leading many to believe that the player was leaving not only Buffalo, but the league as a whole.

Jan 21, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde (23) against the Kansas
Jan 21, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde (23) against the Kansas / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Hyde, if he were to return, would bring schematic and general league experience to a Buffalo secondary that was revamped in the offseason. The team, given the offseason departures of Hyde and Poyer, currently projects to have two new starting safeties for the first time since the 2017 NFL season; the recently re-signed Taylor Rapp, free agent signee Mike Edwards, and second-round draft pick Cole Bishop are the primary names in the competition.

Hyde, if brought back, would not only help Buffalo’s defensive backfield maintain some (potentially desired) continuity, but he could also serve as an on-and-off-field mentor for Bishop, who the Bills hope to be a long-term answer at safety. Bishop’s presumptive fit in Buffalo’s defensive scheme has been examined by several pundits since the conclusion of the 2024 NFL Draft; lining him up alongside Hyde for a season could result in some highlight-reel plays.

Regardless of Hyde’s ultimate decision, it’s reassuring to know that he won’t finish his career elsewhere. He’s evolved into a physical embodiment of the 'Sean McDermott era' in Buffalo, and it’d be, frankly, unsettling to see him in another uniform.

Kyle Silagyi