We all know what it’s like to be a Bills’ fan. But none of us know what it’s like to be a Bills’ player. That’s why a recent article in The Players’ Tribune, written by former Buffalo Bills player Aaron Williams, is so impactful. The article is a brutally honest account of Aaron’s arrival to Buffalo, his seasons with The Bills, his relationship with the fans and the city, his injuries, and a stinging remorse that he will carry with him for the rest of his life.
Aaron’s remorse about not taking the game very seriously during his first two seasons with The Bills is a real eye opener. It shows the mindset of a young player who is making the big bucks, without actually understanding his true role as a player on and off the field. This is an insightful account that should be mandatory reading for every new player that walks onto New Era Field. It’s also a rare confession from a player who admits that he took his initial playing stint with the Bills for granted.
Any Bills fan that reads Aaron’s heartfelt worlds will come away with a wide range of emotions – from feeling betrayed by a rookie, to wanting to give him a hug for facing up to his own mistakes and misgivings. In the end, there are so many lessons to be learned here. The article will make you think twice about what’s going on in the heads of all rookie Bills players moving forward. We tend to forget how young and impressionable these players actually are. At the same time, it shows the importance of having crucial support and guidance from the veterans, the trainers, ownership, and the fans. Actually, we don’t have to worry about the fans too much, thanks to their resilient diehard nature.
When these young players are left to their own devices, in an unfamiliar city, with no real role models, they are at risk of mentally checking out, as we saw in this case. Fortunately, Aaron was faced with a wake up call in the form of a young fan who was looking to emulate him. But what if that chance encounter had never happened? How long would he have played The Bills, instead of playing for The Bills? Thankfully, Aaron did turn things around, albeit a bit too late. Now he is offering us up invaluable insight into the mindset of a young player who didn’t take his responsibilities seriously, and the entire team/city paid for it. Of course he’s not the first rookie to drop the ball on the team, but he is apparently the first player to make a full fledge written apology to the team/city for letting us, and himself, down.