True to his nature, Cordy Glenn tried his best to keep a potential major impediment to his NFL career to himself.
It was the offseason of 2014 when the Buffalo Bills’ offensive tackle was diagnosed with a kidney that had stopped working and would have to be surgically removed.
Glenn knew he’d be able to function normally with one healthy kidney. But he also knew that, in his violent line of work, it could pose a serious risk.
“You have something go wrong with an organ in your body and you try to play a game like football,” he said. “So that was the biggest thing. You’re going through that and you’re still trying to get back into football mode and in kind of rapid-fire type of pace.”
Quietly, Glenn recovered. He went about his preparation for the season as best as he could, then managed to start at left tackle for all 16 games.
Glenn has done the same through the first 14 games of this year, performing at the highest level of his four NFL seasons. And this week, his teammates decided to recognize his remarkable achievement by selecting him as the Bills’ recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.
“It was one of those things that happened and I just dealt with it and just moved on to the next day,” Glenn said of his medical ordeal. “It was tough. Just the timing of when it happened and just a small window of when it happened and trying to get back into the swing of things, that was kind of tough for me.”
The award holds a special place with him, because it’s from his teammates and because of what it represents.
“Just coming back and having a great year this year after what I had to go through last year, so I’m appreciative of that,” Glenn said. “We started to jell a little bit better this year” as an offensive line, “definitely.”
Given that he’s due to become a free agent after the season and the Bills have limited salary cap space, especially after last year’s heavy spending in the open market, Glenn might have an uncertain future with the team. He would likely seek a contract that would make him one of the higher-paid left tackles in the league.
But he insists he isn’t preoccupied with what might happen after the final two games because playing in them is his only focus at the moment.
“Just trying to finish the season strong,” Glenn said. “Can’t really say anything at this point” about his next contract, “but we’ll just see what happens, you know? I would love to be back, but we’ve just got to see how everything works and plays itself out at the end.”
The Bills list running back LeSean McCoy (knee), tight end Charles Clay (back), and linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle) as out for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Cornerback Ronald Darby (groin) is listed as questionable, but coach Rex Ryan sounded pessimistic Friday about the rookie’s chances of playing. That would leave Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks as the Bills’ starting corners against the Cowboys.
Despite having no playoff opportunity for which to contend, Tyrod Taylor sees plenty that he and the rest of the Bills’ offense can gain through the final two games.
“Consistency is definitely something that we want to work on as an offense and it boils down to us going out there and executing, me being better, all of us being better and going out there and getting the job done,” he said. “So that’s definitely something that we can work on, something we can work on these last two games and something that we can go back and watch and learn from our previous games.”
Guard Richie Incognito joked that his big plans to give family members round-trip tickets to Hawaii for Christmas were thwarted by his selection as an alternate for next month’s Pro Bowl in Honolulu.
What was his backup plan?
“Gift cards,” he said with a smile.