ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes said Monday he was "very disappointed" in Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who harshly criticized running back LeSean McCoy's conduct during Sunday's national anthem.
Hughes, an eight-year league veteran, objected to comments Kelly made on the radio station 97 Rock. In that radio appearance, the former Bills star said he "lost a lot of respect" for McCoy after he'd decided to stretch and jog through the duration of the anthem, instead of simply kneeling like many other players.
On Sunday evening, Kelly had posted on Instagram that "I hope next week we can STAND, LOCK ARMS and become ONE FAMILY.” Kelly also appeared on the sidelines prior to the game against the Denver Broncos, holding his hat in the air during the national anthem. According to 2 On Your Side's Heather Prusak, Hughes said Monday that if Kelly "has things to say about the team and us, come talk to us."
On Monday evening, 2 on Your Side's Scott Levin learned that Jim Kelly had a very productive conversation with both Hughes and McCoy.
Here's the full transcript from Monday's press conference:
"I was very disappointed in him. I was very disappointed in how he approached the whole situation. Our team came together, and we united as a front, as an organization, on how we were gonna approach the national anthem. If Jim was going to do what he did, then he should have came to the team and let us know his feelings. He should have let us know he was going to do the national anthem because we didn't know he was gonna be there, from a team's perspective.
And so for him to carry on in this manner, I'm really confused, and I'm really upset, because if this is something how he felt, and this is truly what he felt and was on his heart, then he should have come to the team and should have approached, instead of making this a public matter and doing that on his social page. It was not cool. Very unacceptable. And if he has things to say about us as a team, come talk to us...
That doesn't sit well with me. I won't speak for everyone in our locker room, but that doesn't sit well with me at all, because we came together as a team and we discussed exactly how we were going to approach the national anthem. And for him to walk on the sideline, and do exactly what he did, was unacceptable, because if he felt a certain way about a player on the team, come to the team and let's address it.
Half the time, I don't even realize he's there until it was pointed out yesterday after the display of his actions that he did. It was pointed out, brought to my attention. I'm not sure I understand it. We are the 2017 Buffalo Bills. We are focused on the future, focused on winning games. If he wants to offer anything of encouragement to our team, to our quarterbacks, our offense, please provide all that. We could use all the encouragement we need to figure out how they won games back in those days and be as successful as they were. But we're trying to bring a team together, a community together, a nation together. And by dividing the team, that doesn't work.
If he needed to say something, he could have come to the team.
See Heather's tweet below to listen to Hughes' full comments.