After an up-and-down season, Buffalo Bills wide receiver and kick returner Isaiah McKenzie seems to appreciate the stray All-Pro vote that he caught.
McKenzie started the season as the team’s primary return specialist, then lost the job after a series of miscues and fumbles, then later earned it back and had a breakout game as a receiver while filling in for some ill and injured teammates. The return prowess that McKenzie showed before losing the job earned him a single vote for the NFL’s All-Pro team, and prompted a reaction from McKenzie himself.
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McKenzie Appreciates His Lone Vote
The Associated Press released the full voting for the All-Pro team on Friday, showing that McKenzie was one of the six players to receive at least one vote for the league’s best kick returner. When WROC-TV sports director Thad Brown tweeted a list of all the Bills players who received votes, including a question mark next to McKenzie’s name, the Bills receiver and kick returner reacted.
“I was almost an all-pro gosh darnit!” he wrote.
McKenzie was benched mid-season after some miscues in the return game, but became a primary receiver after a COVID-19 outbreak and had a career-high 11 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown in a win over the New England Patriots.
In the past, a single vote has been enough to land a Buffalo Bills receiver on the All-Pro list. Cole Beasley landed on the second-team for the 2020 season thanks to a vote from NBC Sports’ Peter King.
King later explained that he believed he should be picking the best outside receiver as well as the best slot receiver, and saw Beasley as the league’s best from the slot.
“Cole Beasley is the slot receiver on my All-Pro team this year,” King told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. “This year the Associated Press asked voters to vote for three wide receivers. They didn’t put any limit, any restrictions on how you vote for them and look I probably would have voted as my third receiver for somebody like Tyreek Hill, but I like to put my votes for players as if I was going to play a game and so I want a slot receiver on my team. And Cole Beasley led all NFL slot receivers in yardage this year and he was the most effective, efficient receiver in that ping-pong ball type area.”
Honors for Two Safeties
While McKenzie fell far short of making the All-Pro team, two defensive teammates took home some long-awaited honors. Jordan Poyer was selected as a first-team All-Pro safety, while fellow safety Micah Hyde earned his way onto the second team. There had been something of an uproar among Bills fans and players after both had been passed up for this year’s Pro Bowl starting rosters, but now both earned what is seen as a larger honor.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott had praise for the effect that both Hyde and Poyer have on the team.
“They’ve been outstanding,” he said, via Syracuse.com. “Two very fine young men that just handle their business the right way. They’re professional in their approach. They can flip the switch when they get on the field. They’ve done a great job of bringing people along in terms of their leadership and their influence on our football team, not just defensively but on the offensive side and special teams as well. So they’ve just done a fantastic job since they’ve been here.”