Bills Brandon Reilly has always been the underdog

August 08, 2018 - 8:30 pm

Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) - When Brandon Reilly finished high school in Lincoln, Nebraska, he didn’t have a scholarship to play football. Reilly had confidence in his ability as a wide receiver so he decided to walk-on at Nebraska.

He made the team, but didn’t excel until his junior and senior years. The 2016 NFL Draft came and went and Reilly was in another familiar position, he wasn’t selected. The Bills had seen enough good things so they signed him as an undrafted free agent.

Reilly had an excellent preseason catching 11 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. He was the darling of fans, many of which were critical when he was cut and brought back for the practice squad. Reilly said, “I was frustrated for a bit, but at the end of the day, I sat down and thought to myself, coming out undrafted, my ultimate goal was to make the practice squad last year so I did fulfill that, so it was frustrating, but same mentality, just keep working and it’s paying off.”

As the days went on, Reilly realized that there were certain things in his game that just weren’t up to NFL standards. He couldn’t go up against bump and run coverages. He also said he was tipping his routes, “Going up against our DB’s every day I had to learn no tells in routes, which way you’re going, when you’re coming out of your breaks and going against Tre’Davious every day helped out a lot.”

There were other things Reilly knew he had to work on too, “Just confidence and consistency I’d say. I’m way more confident this camp and just consistent every play, you can’t have highs and lows.”

Reilly really didn’t want to cover kicks in his first camp and that could’ve been part of the reason he didn’t make the team. Backup players usually have to be good special team players and Reilly now knows how important it is, “I’ve been focusing a lot on that this year because last year, I didn’t necessarily do that as much as I should’ve and when I did get moved up, that’s why I didn’t get a jersey because I didn’t have a role on special teams, so it definitely hit home with me and it’s something I take a lot of pride in now.”

Reilly was signed off the practice squad for the final five games, but didn’t play.

I was thinking that it may take some time for Reilly to get a chemistry with AJ McCarron, Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen. Reilly said it’s not that hard, “They’re all right handed, so it’s not too different, Josh may throw some balls a little harder, but at the end of the day, if the ball is in my vicinity, I’m going to do everything I can to catch it.”

As a kid, Reilly may have been a better hockey player than football player. He played in Omaha, and really loved the game, “Neither of my parents were really around it, but my older brother, he starting playing so I started playing when I was three.

“I always played up with him and his friends, so playing against older competition and better competition, you’ve got to get better quick or get out.”

By being that good, Reilly came to a crossroad when he was 12 or 13 years old, “I got pretty good, but in my 8th grade year, I had to make a decision, either move away or stick around home and do high school sports.”

Reilly had played hockey more than he had played football so it was hard to give it up, “No doubt, when I got to high school, I almost had to teach myself how to run again cause I was so used to skating I didn’t really pick up my knees very much, so I had to start from ground zero.”

Reilly was a center, but was too young to get an college offers, “I stopped after 8th grade, but I was the seventh rated player in the nation my 8th grade year, so yes, I probably would had some offers I’d like to think.”

It’s hard to think back in your life and go, “What if?” But Reilly said he does miss hockey, “Yes I do, I think, what would’ve happened if I went that way, but I’m loving life and the route I took and I’m going to make this route work.”

Many of the Bills player go to Sabres games and many of the Sabres go to Bills games and Reilly is no different, “I definitely went to some games and hopefully I’ll stick around this year and get to more games.”

The Sabres took Rasmus Dahlin with the first overall pick and Reilly was happy when it happened, “I love it, I’m excited to see the guy they drafted No. 1 because he’s quite the stud.

“I’ve never met any of the Sabres players, but I’d love to and maybe some day get some skates on and go out there and see if I still got it a little bit.”

Kim Pegula is the president of both teams, so chances are pretty good she can make Reilly’s dream a reality.

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