Stay­ing the course pays for Nsekhe

Count­ing Arena league, Bills are his 10th team

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS - By Mark Gaughan NEWS SPORTS RE­PORTER

New Buf­falo Bills of­fen­sive line­man Ty Nsekhe said he has each of the jer­seys from the 10 foot­ball teams he suited up for dis­played in his of­fice. What’s his fa­vorite? “This one that I’ve got now,” Nsekhe said with a big laugh Thurs­day upon be­ing in­tro­duced at One Bills Drive.

Nsekhe hit a free-agent jack­pot of sorts by sign­ing a two-year con­tract with the Bills for $14.5 mil­lion and $7.7 mil­lion guar­an­teed.

It was a long time com­ing for a 33-year-old who has spent most of his foot­ball life on min­i­mum-salary deals.

Con­sider the pro teams he has signed with since com­ing out of Texas State in 2009: Cor­pus Christi Sharks, Dal­las Vig­i­lantes, Philadel­phia Soul, San An­to­nio Talons, In­di­anapo­lis Colts, St. Louis Rams, New Or­leans Saints, Mon­treal Alou­ettes, Los An­ge­les Kiss, Wash­ing­ton Red­skins . . . and now the Bills.

The first four, along with the Kiss, are Arena league teams.

“Ty had a non-tra­di­tional path to the NFL, but it shows you a guy who has per­se­vered,” said Bills Gen­eral Man­ager Bran­don Beane.

“It just speaks to the char­ac­ter that I have,” Nsekhe said of his ca­reer. “I’m able to over­come ad­ver­sity and push through it. It just shows I have great per­se­ver­ance and I’m will­ing to get my hands dirty and fig­ure it out.”

It wasn’t un­til Nsekhe – pro­nounced In-Secky – signed with the Red­skins in 2015 that he fi­nally stuck


in the NFL.

He was a min­i­mum-salary player for the Red­skins from 2015 to 2017. He played last sea­son on a one-year deal for $2.9 mil­lion as a re­stricted free agent.

A strong show­ing in five start­ing as­sign­ments in 2018 caught the Bills’ at­ten­tion.

The 6-foot-8, 330-pounder didn’t al­low a sack and gave up just five hur­ries in 195 snaps at left tackle last sea­son for the Red­skins, ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus. It in­cluded an im­pres­sive show­ing against Hous­ton Tex­ans edge rusher Jade­veon Clowney in Week 11. Nsekhe also played 143 snaps at left guard. Over­all, he played 40 per­cent of the Red­skins’ of­fen­sive plays.

“What I saw on him when you turn the tape on is a guy who played both tack­les and played guard as well,” Beane said. “He pro­vides po­si­tion flex, can play left tackle, right tackle, he can go in at guard if we need him to go there. I would think his start­ing spot will be at a tackle. He’s a big man. He’s a big man to get around, and he can move pretty good. He’s got pretty good feet. I like the edge. You see a lit­tle bit of nasty in him. That’s part of what was at­trac­tive to him.”

Where does Nsekhe fit with the Bills? His con­tract sug­gests the Bills con­sider him a strong can­di­date to start at one of the two tackle spots. Dion Dawkins is the in­cum­bent left tackle. Tackle is a prime po­si­tion of con­sid­er­a­tion for the Bills early in the NFL Draft.

“They gave me an op­por­tu­nity to come in and com­pete for a start­ing po­si­tion,” Nsekhe said. “I’m wel­come to the task come OTAs and train­ing camp to earn my right to be a Buf­falo Bill.”

Asked what the Bills coaches said they liked about him, Nsekhe said:

“My char­ac­ter. They said they liked how I fin­ished. The way I have a nas­ti­ness to me. They said they liked how in­tel­li­gent I played. They said the fact I’m an older guy and I’m a vet fits in here. They said they could use a vet pres­ence on the line to kind of in­still a new cul­ture so that’s what I pride on and plan on bring­ing to the Bills, a veteran pres­ence.”

Nsekhe al­lowed five sacks in 2017, ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus, while play­ing 30 per­cent of the snaps for the Red­skins. In 2016 he al­lowed just one sack while play­ing 36 per­cent of the snaps, all at tackle.

“I was in­jured and I wasn’t 100 per­cent,” Nsekhe said of 2017. “So I felt I didn’t put out a good dis­play of my­self. So I felt I had to come back with a bet­ter year.” Mis­sion ac­com­plished. What does Nsekhe think about fi­nally be­com­ing a free-agent prize?

“It’s an amaz­ing feel­ing,” Nsekhe said. “It was over­whelm­ing at first. But I had to take it all in. God is good. I’m re­ally ex­cited for the op­por­tu­nity.”

Miller to Ben­gals

Guard John Miller, who started 15 games last sea­son for the Bills, has agreed to a three-year deal with the Cincin­nati Ben­gals, ac­cord­ing to mul­ti­ple re­ports.

Miller’s deal is val­ued at $16.5 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

A third-round draft pick in 2015, Miller played in 47 games with the Bills and started all 16 in 2016.

He started the first four games in 2017 and then was benched for the re­main­der of the year.

The Bills will be Ty Nsekhe’s fifth NFL team. He was given a two-year con­tract for $14.5 mil­lion and $7.7 mil­lion guar­an­teed. He spent the last four years with the Red­skins.

Getty Im­ages

Ty Nsekhe likes the fact that the Bills are giv­ing him an op­por­tu­nity to com­pete for a start­ing po­si­tion.

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