ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – This Sunday, the Bills will face one of their key losses on defense from a year ago in Miami.
Shaq Lawson spent the first four season of his career with the Bills after they drafted him in the first-round of out Clemson back in 2016. Buffalo did not pick up his fifth-year option and signed with the Dolphins in free agency but guys are excited to see their old teammate this weekend.
“Shaq’s one of my guys you know great for him that he was able to get a deal done and head down to Miami. At the end of the day it’s competition, we know he’s gonna be out there talking his mess but Shaq is Shaq. It’s competition, we’re gonna go out there and play,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer said.
Even the coaching staff still has a lot of respect for Lawson.
“Shaq is one of my favorites man, just a guy that I loved being around for the few years we were around each other here. I actually worked Shaq out when he was at Clemson coming out so got a little bit more history than just our time here in Buffalo,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said.
“Just a guy that’s a good football player and I can see why Miami did what they did in terms of going out to get him and we couldn’t be happier for Shaq and his situation.”
Lawson was second to Jordan Phillips in sacks last season with 6.5. During his four seasons with Buffalo, Lawson made 108 tackles and 16.5 sacks.
“It’s all love until we’re in between those lines so we’ll figure it out once we get there how that’s gonna go down. My job is to go out there and execute, you know he plays on the other side of the football. I know our offensive line has a great game plan against them,” Poyer said.
Even media members who covered the team while Lawson was here know how much he made his presence known not just on the field but in the locker room too. You could hear him from all the way on the other side of the room and players know he’s going to bring that same energy on Sunday.
“He’s gonna be talking trash to the offense. He made a lot of big time plays for us and I’m happy for him. I’m happy that he was able to do the things that he wanted to do and able to hit free agency and get compensated for his services but some Sunday hopefully he doesn’t make any big plays against our offense but it’s gonna be good to see him,” Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White said.
“He’s gonna talk trash on Sunday we already know that. During the warm ups, during everything, we know what’s coming with Shaq so it’s gonna be fun,” White laughed.
So what’s the biggest difference in the locker room now that Lawson is gone? Quieter?
“I know one thing we got a lot of gum left because Shaq Lawson used to chew all the bubble gum so we got a lot of gum in the locker room now that he’s gone so it’s been different man. We got a lot of gum and then we don’t hear as much trash talk on the field,” White joked.
In all seriousness, even though they’re playing against each other now, guys value the bonds they make with players throughout the years and that’s something that never goes away.
“We know that football is just a game but outside of football we’re connected beyond the game of football so you always want a guy to do great even if it comes at the expense of the guy leaving. If he can go get compensated to what he feels like he’s worth then that’s what it is but at the end of the day once the helmets come off and the shoulder pads come off we’re connected, we talk all the time, we text, Facetime, joke all the time, so it’s just the game of football that we’re on the a different end,” White explained.
“I value that over everything. The relationships that I’ve been able to build and the friendships that I’ve been able to build those are the things that I cherish for a lifetime so no matter what team another guy is on when you take the helmet off we’re still bonded.”