“I’m Good But Just Know Situations Change #96BALLFOREVER Y’all Gone See,” Buggs tweeted.
Considering his recent absence during Saturday’s practice (turns out he was sick) the speculation mill ran wild on Sunday night.
On Monday afternoon after returning to practice, Buggs revealed that the coaching staff told him he would not play in the Thursday opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“As of right now, they told me that I was not going to play,” Buggs said. “So that’s what we got. I’m going to be straightforward with it because they were straightforward with me with that. And as of right now, I will not be playing.”
Buggs said he was not told specifically whether this was just a game plan decision for Kansas City or if this is how the team plans to operate going forward.
The news is a mild surprise. Toward the end of training camp, Buggs’ first-team reps were starting to be taken over by Benito Jones, and during the team’s final preseason game, Buggs was still in the game going into the second half—long after many starters and backups had already been removed from the game.
That said, it’s one thing to be demoted to a reserve role. It’s another to be inactive completely, as Buggs seems to be suggesting. The Lions don’t have a lot of nose tackle depth beyond Buggs, other than third-round rookie Brodric Martin.
Regardless of what happens on Thursday, Buggs plans on using this moment as a motivational tool.
“Head down, go-to-work mentality. That’s what it is with me,” Buggs said. “That’s always what it’s been about me. Nothing really gets me down, just makes me work harder.”
That said, he did admit the news was quite a bit of a surprise to him. In the past, coach Dan Campbell has called Buggs “extremely important,” and he’s coming off a season where he started 13 games, tallied 46 tackles, and 10 quarterback hits.
“Playing an important role last year, leading this year. You think you’re going to be that guy,” Buggs said. “You thinking they’re all in with you, and then, ‘Boom.’ With a snap of your finger, it’s like that. Like I said, I’ve always been a team player, I’ve always been a role player. Whatever they have for me, that’s what I’m going to do.”