Bills G Brian Winters WNY family ties helped make his decision to sign with Buffalo

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FILE – In this Nov. 2, 2017, file photo, New York Jets offensive guard Brian Winters (67) gestures during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in East Rutherford, N.J. Jets tight end Chris Herndon will be out indefinitely with a broken rib and Winters has a dislocated shoulder that will likely end his season. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – “I’ve got some history here.”

Brian Winters isn’t just talking about playing in Orchard Park when he was with the Jets.

Being a free agent during these times has its challenges, just like everything else.

“They put me in a separate hotel, I went through protocol for about five days before I was even able to enter the building. So everything they’re doing is by the book so it’s good. It’s obviously tough, when I got let go, to feel out a team or see a team when you can’t even get in the building,” Brian Winters said on a zoom call with reporters Sunday.

So he relied on his connections to the area to help him make his decision to sign with the Bills.

Winters said his parents used to live in Orchard Park for about eight years. They lived so close to the stadium they would walk to games. His aunt and uncle currently live in East Aurora.

Plus, the coaching staff was a big part of it as well.

“Great people, they know what they’re doing. They’re awesome, they’re great coaches, I’m excited to work with them. Bobby Johnson, he’s got a lot of respect in the league. He’s someone that helped me make my decision,” Winters said.

“I know what type of program it is. I know it’s a hard-nosed, blue collar area and that’s the type of football I play.”

Winters spent the first seven years of his career with the Jets, so he knows all about playing in Buffalo.

The Jets drafted him in the third-round back in 2013 and less than a week after they released him, Winters signed with the Bills.

“We never know, it’s one of those things you never know how long your job security is gonna be there so. I went in every day just how I could as a rookie just went in and worked and obviously my time there ended, it ran out but I’m excited to be here. I’m excited for a new start,” Winters explained.

Winters looks like the top candidate to take the starting right guard spot after Jon Feliciano had pec surgery and is expected to miss two to three months. But he’ll have competition from guys like Evan Boehm and Darryl Williams, and even Ike Boettger.

This move shows the Bills want to keep Cody Ford at right tackle instead of move him back inside.

Winters did miss seven games last season with a shoulder injury he tried to play through but was ultimately placed on injured reserve after having season-ending surgery. But now he says he feels back to full strength.

“I’ve been healthy for the last four, five months honestly, I’ve been real at it because I wanted to get back to my normal self. It always sucks having an injury,” Winters explained.

Now he says it’s about learning the playbook and doing everything he can to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

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