Ex-Bills OL Burns Bridges in Buffalo Following Bombshell Interview

Jon Feliciano

Getty Jon Feliciano #76 of the Buffalo Bills on the bench during the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at New Era Field on August 29, 2019.

In order to clear cap space for the 2022 NFL season, the Buffalo Bills released guard Jon Feliciano on Wednesday, March 9. Feliciano, however, didn’t remain jobless for long.

Five days later, on. March 14, Syracuse.com’s Matt Parrino announced Felicano would follow the Bills’ former offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, who’s now the New York Giants head coach, to the Meadowlands. Feliciano signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Giants, per OverTheCap.com.

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The 30-year-old offensive lineman will also reunite with former Buffalo executive, Joe Schoen, who signed on to become the Giants’ general manager this offseason, along with former offensive line coach Bobby Johnson, who took on the same role in New York. Feliciano spent the past three seasons in Buffalo working under Daboll and Johnson, which makes his disparaging comments about his former team all the more perplexing.

While Feliciano wrote a moving goodbye note to the team following his departure two months ago, on May 18, the Giants lineman appeared on Ariel Helwani’s podcast and spoke candidly about how his time in Buffalo ended.

Feliciano, who was benched during the team’s final game of the postseason, noted how the Bills “deserved” to lose their overtime playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs:

To be honest, I was like… hmm. I was definitely sad for my teammates. I did what I can on the sideline. I was coaching up people. Every time Gabe (Davis) scored I was on his hip, like ‘I’m there for you.’ But I can’t lie, there’s a part of me that wasn’t like, ‘Oh, y’all got what you deserved.’ Honestly, when you look back at that game, they weren’t playing football.

Everyone was just going through the motions. There wasn’t anyone challenging in the face of KC’s defense or there was no attitude out there and I feel like that’s what I bring. And I feel like potentially if there was that it wouldn’t have been such a close game. But who knows, I might be wrong.

While Buffalo’s players and staff have not publicly commented on Feliciano’s critical words about the team, both Bills and Giants fans took issue. Talkin Giants‘ podcast host tweeted, “This is even more weird considering Jon Feliciano’s OC & OL Coach are now his coaches with the Giants.”

PFF’s E.J. Daniel tweeted, “Lets get one thing straight, Jon Feliciano was not the difference in that game 😂… Cmon man.”

Feliciano Started Just 6 Games During the 2021 NFL Season

During his three-season tenure with the Bills, Feliciano played right guard, left guard, and center. Over the past two years, however, injuries limited Feliciano and he started a total of just 15 games.

During the 2021 NFL season, after suffering a calf injury against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8, Feliciano lost his job in the starting lineup. He appeared in just nine games during the 2021 NFL season, and made six starts.

While Feliciano was out, the Bills started Ike Boettger in his place. When Boettger got injured before the playoffs, Buffalo still didn’t go back to playing Feliciano, and instead started Ryan Bates. (Both Bates and Boettger were re-signed for the 2022 NFL season.)

Head coach Sean McDermott was asked in mid-December why Feliciano remained benched, noting that it was a combination of medical reasons and lineup decisions. “A little bit of both,” McDermott said, during a video conference.

McDermott also said not playing Feliciano was Daboll and Johnson’s decision. “Trust Brian and Bobby Johnson to go with the lineup that they feel like will give us the best chance,” he added. “We’ll see where it goes this week. Confidence in Jon and Ike and Daryl as well.”

Johnson Spoke Highly of Feliciano Following His Candid Interview

While not everyone enjoyed Felician’s critical comments, Johnson thinks the veteran center having a bone to pick will only help his game. “I think the world of Jon as a player,” the Giants offensive coordinator said on May 20.

“I think he has a lot of ability. I think he has a chip on his shoulder, he feels like he has something to prove every day. Not only as a player, but as a man. I know that’s how he plays —He plays with an edge you want your room to have.

“I joke when I write the depth chart every day on the board — I write the names or nicknames. His is ‘dirtbag.’ That’s how he plays. Not in an illegal fashion, but he plays the game on the edge.

“If they don’t play that way, they will not play,” Johnson added, while also noting that he starts players that stay ready. “Availability is another trait. If you’re available, you get reps, you get better. If you’re not, you don’t.”

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