Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange

April 29, 2018 at 10:44 pm.

–Quarterback Josh Allen was one of the biggest stories of the first round, but for the wrong reason. Racially insensitive tweets from his high school days were unearthed, and created quite a buzz with speculation centering on how far he might drop in the first round. As it turned out, not very, because the Bills leaped into action and made several last-minute calls to talk to Allen, his Wyoming coach, teammates and friends.

“It was very serious when we got word of it last night/this morning,” McDermott said Thursday night. “It’s something that we went back and drilled down further on again in terms of digging back into some of the same conversations that we had as we went through the process up until today. It’s not something we tolerate around here whatsoever and our hope is that he will learn from this and will move forward from here.”

Allen reportedly broke down in tears during the conversation with general manager Brandon Beane. As for as new teammates in Buffalo, veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said Friday that Allen should be prepared to speak in front of the team and explain his actions.

“He’s gonna have to have a good answer,” Alexander said. “I’ve listened to a couple of interviews, and I think it’s gonna come from the heart, and he’ll be fine. But he’s gonna maybe have to work a little bit harder from certain people in the locker room, but I don’t think it’s an issue, because that’s who he was and not who he is.”

Alexander said Allen should do it as soon as possible to clear the air. “If it was me in that situation, I think I would,” Alexander said. “Because you don’t want to have that lingering. You’re always going to have guys like, ‘Eh,’ trying to watch it extra close, tying to confirm it versus you addressing it. Then it’s kind of over. Then open it up. ‘Anybody got any questions for me? If you want me to answer them, I can do it now.’ Or, ‘I can take you to lunch.’ Whatever it may be so that you can really get to know the person I am.”

–The Bills’ third-round pick, defensive tackle Harrison Phillips of Stanford, had a special connection with McDermott. Like the Bills head coach, Phillips was a national high school champion wrestler.

“All the football coaches loved that I was a wrestler,” Phillips said. “It means you’re good with your hips and good with your hands. The first time I met coach McDermott he tried to hit an outside single on me and he knocked the water bottle out of my hand so I wasn’t prepared for that. If we ever have a round two, I’ll be ready.”

McDermott smiled when asked about the wrestling connection.

“Getting to know Harrison was not hard,” he said. “He’s the type of guy we look for, and the wrestling background certainly is an added benefit. It’s an important part of playing football in terms of leverage and the mental toughness that goes along with the sport. We know what we’re getting, so it was a good pick for us.”