Matt Milano puts rookie success behind him to avoid sophomore slump

Sports

Matt Milano may not be the biggest star on the Bills, but he’s far from unpopular.

“Man, I love this dude,” said defensive end Shaq Lawson. “That’s my brother, ACC brothers for real. I love my dog.”

A 5th round pick out of Boston College last year, Milano went on to start five games at outside linebacker during his rookie year. He is currently the favorite to be the Bills starter at weakside linebacker in 2018.

“Coming in last year being a 5th round pick, I don’t know if there was a lot of expectations,” said fellow linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. “But the way he played last year at a high level, made a lot of plays, we expect him to be that same type of player for us this year and take that next step forward.”

A hamstring injury kept Milano from making his playoff debut. After the Bills wrapped up offseason minicamp, Milano stayed in Buffalo to continue rehabbing at the Bills facility, a decision that wasn’t forgotten by his head coach.

“Sticking around Buffalo during the break to get himself right and ready to go for training camp I thought was a big sign of maturity,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “He’s very serious about his job and what we’re trying to do as a football team.”

“I really appreciate him seeing that and the team seeing that,” said Milano. “I’m just trying to get prepared this season and have a great season this year.”

Milano understands the challenge of not falling into a sophomore slump, but knows he has a good role model alongside him in 14-year vet, Lorenzo Alexander.

“Picking up on little tips and stuff, he sees guards pulling, he sees where the ball is going before the ball is snap,” said Milano. “Just trying to pick his brain a little bit because he has so much knowledge in there.”

“I think a lot of it is built in who you are as a person,” said Alexander. “Being around Matt, he’s a very humble kid. Likes to work hard and I don’t see him relying on what he did last year to carry him into this year.”

If Milano can build off last season, he’ll become a more popular figure, not just in the Bills locker room.

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