Justin Pugh is on the comeback trail. 10 months after tearing his ACL, the veteran offensive lineman has been cleared to do drills and is seeking his next opportunity, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter).
The free agent lineman is reportedly participating in positional drills with LeCharles Bentley, a former Pro Bowl OL and current NFL senior advisor of player performance and development. Pugh is expected to visit with suitors in the “near future.”
Pugh himself provided some more insight into his free agency. In a conversation with Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, the veteran admitted that he’s actually talked with six teams and is hoping to join a contender.
“It seems like after the preseason games happened, a few more teams reached out,” Pugh said (via Leonard on Twitter). “So we’ll see how the next few week go. Really looking to sign with one of those teams that’s in the top echelon. Playoff contention last year, has a chance to make a step this next year. And I can really come in and add value to that team.
“Not really looking for a rebuild where I have to come in and mentor a rookie quarterback. [I’m] looking for that team that’s missing a few pieces, needs some depth on the o-line. I know wherever I go, I’m going to end up starting. Offensive linemen don’t grow on trees.”
Pugh was limited to only five games last season before suffering his season-ending ACL tear. The lineman only got through one of his five seasons in Arizona unscathed, with Pugh ultimately starting 56 of his 57 games with the organization. It’s been a bit since Pugh ranked as an above-average guard by Pro Football Focus, although the site consistently graded him among the best tackles in the league during his time with the Giants.
Pugh was a first-round pick by New York in 2013 and spent five seasons with the organization, starting all 63 of his appearances. The 33-year-old told Leonard that the Giants are “one of those teams that [he’s] definitely eyeing” at the moment, with the lineman noting that he’d love to end his career where it started.