Tyler Kroft’s daughter was barely 24 hours old and she was already making big plays for her daddy.
It was reported on Saturday by multiple news outlets that Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox had contracted covid-19 and was immediately placed on the reserve/covid-19 list. In turn, three other players, tight ends Lee Smith, Tommy Sweeney, and practice squad tight end, Nate Becker, were also placed on that same list after contact tracing determined that they were in close contact with Knox.
How Tyler Kroft’s Daughter Saved Him
Kroft was one of the only Bills tight ends active for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets because he missed practice to help deliver his newborn daughter.
“She was born with the clutch gene, that’s for sure,” Kroft said after making four catches for 64 yards in Buffalo’s 18-10 win.
Hope the boys get healthy and back soon. Baby G already lookin out for her pops! https://t.co/kskjE0Qq69
— Tyler Kroft (@Kroft86) October 24, 2020
Kroft said that his wife, Alexa, was induced around 5 a.m. Thursday morning and the couple went through a 24-hour labor. Baby Grace was born around 5:05 the next morning.
“That took its time and she’s (Alexa) an absolute stud for going through what she went through,” Kroft said. “I can’t say enough about how proud I am of her.”
— Lexi Kroft (@Lexxiikroft) October 24, 2020
From there, Kroft went home to get some sleep and went into practice on Friday. He missed the morning meetings where the close contact was traced too, so he was eligible to play Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
It was quite a few days as Kroft went from being present for the birth of his baby daughter to learning a fellow tight end had come down with coronavirus, to finding a way to stay focused for Buffalo’s game.
How It Played Out
It was a whirlwind, but Kroft said it was about just being a true professional and finding a way to stay focused in the heat of it all.
“Obviously there was a lot going on but I pride myself in attacking what’s in front of me and taking it one day at a time,” Kroft said. “Obviously there is a lot on my plate but sometimes you just have to be able to flush it and lock in on what you have going. So I was just proud that I was able to go out there and have an impact.”
Reggie Gilliam, who is listed as a tight end for the Bills, was spared from being placed on the reserve/covid-19 list as well. Bills coach Sean McDermott said that Gilliam bounces in and out of meetings and isn’t always in the tight end meeting room.
The Bills wear traces when they are in their facility, which allows them to determine whether or not a certain individual is in close contact with another. Gilliam was spared this weekend and he had one catch for 15 yards against the Jets.
“We really go by the letter of the law,” McDermott said. “Listen, we are trying to be as diligent as we can be. That’s what we have to do and error on the side of caution. Thankfully Tyler’s wife was giving birth, what an awesome moment, right? Then to come in here and get a big catch for us in a key moment of the game.”
With 13:55 left in the game, the Bills were driving down the field to try and extend their lead and Josh Allen hit Kroft with a 38-yard pass down the sideline that moved the stick and put the Bills into the red zone.