Former Bills TE Signs With Bears Amid ‘Comeback’ Season

Tommy Sweeney

Getty Former Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney on August 23, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan.

Like many former Buffalo Bills players, tight end Tommy Sweeney headed to the Meadowlands to join the New York Giants ahead of the 2023 NFL season.

However, Sweeney, the Bills seventh-round selection from the 2019 NFL draft, collapsed at practice following a strong preseason showing. The team released a statement in late August saying Sweeney “had a medical event and is under the care of medical professionals in the Giants athletic training room.”

Sweeney was carted off the field, but was “stable, alert, and conversant,” the team said. While the 28-year-old missed the entire 2023 NFL season, he’s ready to return.

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan posted on Sunday, May 12, “Sweeney is signing with the Bears after a tryout at rookie minicamp, per source. A comeback story.”

During his tenure in Buffalo, Sweeney mostly served as Dawson Knox‘s backup. In 24 games and 4 starts, he caught 18-of-26 targets for 165 yards and 1 touchdown. While he looked to have a more consistent role as a pass-blocking tight end under head coach Brian Daboll in New York, things obviously took an unfortunate turn. The Giants eventually cut him in November.

Now, Sweeney will compete for a spot on the Chicago Bears‘ 53-man roster.

Former Bills TE Tommy Sweeney Feared Never Playing Again After Developing Myocarditis in Buffalo

Tommy Sweeney

GettyFormer Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney on August 08, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York.

Sweeney’s collapse in New York was not the veteran’s first medical scare. After starting the 2020 NFL season on the PUP list, Sweeney contracted COVID-19 in October and developed myocarditis, a heart condition.

The Mayo Clinic defines myocarditis as “inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium). The inflammation can reduce the heart’s ability to pump blood. Myocarditis can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and rapid or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias).”

After sitting out the entire 2020 season, Sweeney returned to play in 2021, his first major comeback. After getting diagnosed with myocarditis, Bills reporter Dante Lasting wrote, “Sweeney didn’t know if he would step back on a football field again or even resume life as he once knew it.”

The Boston College alum opened up his return in October 2021. “I’m ready,” Sweeney told Lasting. “I’ve been in this offense for three years, up and down obviously with various things. But I’m excited, and I’m ready. Playing with Josh (Allen), playing with these guys, blocking on O-line for almost three years now. So, I’m excited about the opportunity, I have to keep as normal as possible and just go out and perform.”

During his tenure in Buffalo, Sweeney was a locker-room favorite. “He’s probably one of the most interesting guys not just on the team but on the planet,” Allen said.

“He’s awesome to be around… one of those guys that’s just consistently worked, kept his head down, and never complained. Doesn’t have a whole lot of opportunities in the passing game, but when his number’s called, he usually ends up making the play.”

Bills News: TE Dalton Kincaid Is in Line For a Huge 2024 NFL Season

After the Bills traded Stefon Diggs and let Gabe Davis walk, they only drafted one wide receiver in the NFL draft. While second-rounder Keon Coleman looks to be an immediate starter, there’s a ceiling on how much he can contribute as a rookie.

Allen’s top receivers for the 2024 NFL season include Coleman, Curtis Samuel, Mack Hollins, and Khalil Shakir. By not adding a big name in free agency, the Bills appear to be setting up tight end Dalton Kincaid for a breakout year.

Kincaid, the Bills 2023 first-rounder, defied expectations last season, setting a new franchise record for rookie receptions. He finished the regular season with 73 catches for 673 yards and two touchdowns. The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia wrote, “With an unproven receivers unit, Allen might need to depend on Kincaid to pick up a hearty amount of slack to keep the offense moving the way they want it to. It depends on their vision for him in 2024.

“The Bills moved away from heavy usage of 12 personnel early in the year and mostly settled into 11 personnel. If that’s the plan again this year, how the Bills divvy up snaps between Kincaid and Knox will be interesting.”

Read More