New Cardinals OL Justin Pugh talks college, Pat Tillman, West Coast

Mar 17, 2018, 2:23 PM | Updated: Mar 18, 2018, 4:37 pm

Newly-signed Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Justin Pugh shared anecdotes of college, Pat Tillman and his new West Coast impressions in his introductory press conference Saturday.

Pugh signed a five-year contract reportedly worth up to $45 million with the Cardinals.

He said he will likely be playing left guard.

“Puny” at Syracuse

The Arizona Cardinals’ signing of Pugh reunites the offensive lineman with his next-door neighbor from college, Chandler Jones.

The two played together at Syracuse in 2011.

“We didn’t know how good we were at Syracuse,” Pugh said in the introductory press conference Saturday.

Syracuse was the only school to offer either of the two-star athletes. Jones, who signed as a tight end, was listed at 238 pounds his freshman year, while Pugh was listed at 280.

“Puny,” Pugh said. “That was my nickname when I first got there.”

The two spoke about their NFL potential when Pugh was a sophomore and Jones was a junior.

“Me and Chandler battled for four years not knowing how good we were,” Pugh said. “We actually made a pact…that we were going to go first round. We held true.”

Jones was drafted 21st overall by the New England Patriots in 2012. Pugh was drafted 19th overall by the New York Giants in 2013.

A Pat Tillman impact

There’s only one jersey hanging in the Pugh house where his brother and nephew live in Holland, Penn.

A No. 40 Pat Tillman jersey.

“I sent him a picture of Pat Tillman’s locker right now,” Pugh said. “He made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.”

Pugh works with My Cause, My Cleats to connect veterans and players. He recognizes the impact Tillman has made on the NFL and country.

“You wish you could be half the man that he was,” Pugh said.

New team, new coast

An East Coast native, this is Pugh’s first time moving out west. He quickly learned that the lack of humidity is a plus for the 300-pounder.

“As a big guy, we sweat,” he said.

He did, however, have one concern about making the move to Arizona.

“I was like, ‘tell me I’m not going to have rattlesnakes on my front yard and I’m good,'” Pugh said. “I don’t mess with snakes.”

Despite his fear, he’s looking forward to competing against Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson and Sam Bradford on and off the field.

“All I’m trying to do is be the best football player,” he said. “Then try to beat some of those guys in golf.”

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