The Buffalo Bills’ 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was devastating to watch not just because they were outplayed throughout all four quarters, but also because it was likely the last home game at Highmark Stadium for several players, including safety Jordan Poyer.
Following the abrupt end to the Bills’ postseason journey two weeks ago, Poyer’s mother wrote a heartfelt message to fans, while his wife, Rachel Bush, strongly insinuated his time in Buffalo was officially over. However, fans wanted to hear from the veteran himself.
While participating in the 2023 Pro Bowl in Las Vegas, the veteran opened up to The Athletic about becoming a free agent on March 15. Poyer, who turns 32 in April, said the first order of business is to get healthy.
“I’ve done everything I could to put myself in this position right now,” Poyer said. “I know I’ve dealt with a lot of injuries, but I feel I just need an offseason to get healthy. I can still play at a high level. That’s my main goal this offseason, to get healthy so I can play all 17-plus games.”
Poyer, who’s played for the Bills since 2017, hired super agent Drew Rosenhaus before the season started to negotiate an extension, however, Buffalo did not secure the All-Pro, and instead offered him a restructured deal with much higher incentives.
Due to a laundry list of injuries, he powered through a hyper-extended elbow, sprained foot, rib injuries, a collapsed lung, and a torn meniscus — Poyer never earned the bonus money. During the AFC Divisional Playoff game, a concussion suffered early in the fourth quarter forced an early exit during what might’ve been his last game in Buffalo.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m going to enjoy this free-agency process and see what options are out there and what’s best for my family and myself moving forward,” Poyer said. “If that’s Buffalo, great. If that’s somewhere else, that’s just the business.
“I have enjoyed my time in Buffalo, all the fans, my coaches, my teammates. We were able to build something special there, and they’re going to continue to build something special. It would be great to be a part of it.”
Jordan Poyer Called the 2022 NFL Season The ‘Toughest’ Year of His Career
Poyer is understandably disappointed that the Bills didn’t make it to the Super Bowl this year, but he’s also incredibly proud of what the team accomplished against so many unexpected factors. After his fellow All-Pro safety Micah Hyde hit IR in Week 2, Poyer pulled a lot of weight as both a player and mentor on defense. Ahead of Week 6, Poyer rented a sprinter van and drove 15 hours to play against Kansas City after a rib injury made it unsafe for him to fly.
A historic blizzard forced the team to play (and win) three games in a 12-day span, and of course, the traumatic event of safety Damar Hamlin getting resuscitated on the field at Paycor Stadium on January 2.
“There are no moral victories. Only one team gets to win every year. But with what we had to deal with, if you’d have told people we’d be 13-3 going into the playoffs, I don’t know how many would have believed it,” Poyer said.
“I’ve told a couple people about this, but not out loud: Emotionally, physically, mentally, that was the toughest season I’ve ever been through in my 20-plus years of playing football. To continue to battle injuries and then on top of that dealing with all the adversity. I’m not a ‘woe is me’ kind of guy. I don’t need anybody to feel sorry for what I’m going through. I wanted to prove to everybody that I can still play even with the injuries.”
The Bills went 13-1 this year when Poyer was active, and with He finished the regular season with a 75.4 overall rating from Pro Football Focus, with 46 solo tackles, 4 interceptions, and 16 receptions allowed. In 2021, Poyer tallied 61 solo tackles, 5 interceptions, and 13 receptions allowed.
Jordan Poyer Has Removed Bills Mentions From His Social Media Bios
While Poyer’s comments leave the door open for a possible return, The Athletic noted that the former seventh-round pick from the 203 NFL Draft “didn’t specify if hitting the open market is totally his choice.”
Poyer said he returned to Highmark three days in a row following the Bengals’ loss to say his goodbyes and process what the future may hold. “I had a lot of emotions going through my head,” he said. “Will this be the last time I get dressed in this locker? Will this be the last time I leave this stadium? All that stuff did cross my mind.”
As for which team he’ll be suiting up for next season, there doesn’t appear to be an early front-runner just yet. “I’m sure everybody is interested in what’s going to happen, but nobody is more interested than I am,” he said.