If there’s any good news for the Buffalo Bills the day after their 2022 season ended, it’s that veteran safety Micah Hyde has been medically cleared to resume playing.
The Bills’ two-time, second team All-Pro safety met with media Monday morning as the team, and fans, try to work their way through the disappointment of falling 27-10 to the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
Had the Bills won, Hyde said that he would have been ready to play in next week’s AFC Championship Game.
“I got cleared,” he announced. “Next game, I was going to be able to go out there and play.”
Micah Hyde said he would’ve played next week had the Bills won. He was medically cleared late last week.— Sal Capaccio (@SalSports) January 23, 2023
Hyde, who has one more year on his current contract with Buffalo, missed all but two games of the 2022 season with a neck injury. But he also managed to fast-track his way back, being medically cleared just four months after having surgery to repair a herniated disc, rather than the originally estimated six-to-nine-month recovery time.
Hyde was originally injured in Buffalo’s Week 2 home opener against the Tennessee Titans, when he completed what appeared to be a routine tackle on wide receiver Robert Woods. However, Hyde’s head hit the receiver, and was snapped backwards before he hit the ground.
Instability issues, as well as tingling in his right arm, sent Hyde through the gauntlet of game-time medical checks: trainers, blue medical tent, locker room for x-rays, and the hospital for additional scans. In the days after the game, it was announced that Hyde was out of town seeking a second opinion.
On September 24, Hyde’s agent, Jack Bechta, announced that the Bills’ safety would be put on IR, and that he expected to return healthy and ready to play in 2023. The #23in23 hashtag started speculation among Bills fans as to whether the return meant calendar year or NFL year.
Then, Hyde had surgery. Dr. Robert Watkins performed what was described as a successful surgery in Los Angeles, and the timeline of six to nine months for healing was estimated — meaning Hyde shouldn’t be seen on a football field until April 2023 at the earliest.
But Hyde is a focused football player, and he said that when he went to his two-month checkup in November 2022 and was told that he was nearly healed, he knew what he had to do. Work.
Fast forward to January of 2023. While Hyde had been with the team the entire time, serving as a mentor and motivator, working on his own recovery, and still walking out for coin flips as a team captain, he “officially” became a part of the team again on January 11. That’s the day that the Bills opened his 21-day practice window and had the veteran re-join the team for practices.
Despite all the excitement and anticipation that came with the announcement, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott quickly announced that Hyde would not play in either the wild card round or the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
And, of course, we now know that the Bills will get no more rounds, and that Bills Mafia will have to wait until August to see No. 23 back in a game. But the good news is still there. It’s still important as the team moves forward into the offseason. It’s still key to decisions that will need to be made during free agency: Hyde has been medically cleared to play football. The Bills have their free safety in position and ready to go whenever they take the field next.