A former top draft pick is opening up about what would be an unlikely return to the Buffalo Bills.
Sammy Watkins came to Buffalo with the hype of a big move into the top five of the 2014 NFL Draft, but left after three disappointing seasons hampered by injury. Watkins is now set to become a free agent after three seasons and two trips to the Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs, and spoke out about a potential return to the team where his NFL career started.
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Watkins Won’t Close Door on Return to Buffalo
The free agent wide receiver took to Twitter this weekend to share some insight into his next destination. After a fan suggested that he could return to Buffalo, Watkins seemed to keep the door open to the idea.
“You never know,” he tweeted.
While Watkins seemed noncommital in his reply, the USA Today’s Bills Wire noted that a return would seem unlikely given the circumstances under which Watkins left Buffalo. The report noted that Watkins was traded in 2017, one of the first moves from Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane as part of the team’s rebuild that would bring them to the playoffs three times in four seasons.
The split was not exactly clean. As Watkins later told Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report, he ran into some serious personal problems during his time in Buffalo, saying he would “go out and get wasted” every night. The drinking problems exacerbated his injuries, leading Watkins to miss three games in his second season and eight in his third. As Dunne noted, Watkins went into a self-imposed exile after surgery in the 2017 offseason, studying world religions as he grew increasingly distanced from the team.
“Reemerging in July, Watkins felt nothing but bad energy from new Bills head coach Sean McDermott. Like McDermott was testing him, triggering him, waging a ‘mental war’ to make him explode. Watkins never demanded a trade, but he wanted out. Needed out. Literally stared into a mirror in his St. John Fisher College dorm room at Bills training camp and prayed, nightly, Get me out of here. Please, God.”
Bills Address Offensive Needs
A reunion would seem unlikely after the Bills already spent money making other moves, including some to bring in new targets for Josh Allen. Buffalo signed former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and Seattle Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister.
The Bills now have little room left to make moves, with Buffalo Rumblings noting that the team is against the league’s 2021 salary cap. The team will need to make some moves to manufacture space in order to process the contracts of Jon Feliciano and Mitchell Trubisky, the outlet noted.
“If they’re going to do it, they’ll need to do it soon,” the outlet noted. “With the fifth day of the league year set for Sunday, several pending roster bonuses could be converted to signing bonuses and pro-rated, but once they are paid on March 21st, that option is gone.”