Tre'Davious White paused briefly, letting the moment sink in.
The Buffalo Bills' first-round draft pick signed his rookie contract Thursday, instantly becoming a millionaire. Asked if he knew what his first big purchase would be, White kept his emotions in check as he talked about taking care of his family.
"Honestly, my mom, she's been renting homes my whole life," he said. "My duty is to get her in a comfortable situation, where she can call something her own. I feel like that's my job as her child – I owe it to her for all the sacrifices she made for my little sister and two brothers."
Like all rookies drafted in the first round, White's contract is for four years with a team option for a fifth. The NFL's rookie wage scale means White will earn slightly more than last year's 27th overall pick, Green Bay's Kenny Clark, whose deal was worth a total of about $9.3 million, with a little more than $7 million guaranteed.
"It hasn't hit home yet," White said after the Bills finished their third practice of the spring. "My life changed. I'm able to do some things for my mom that typically a normal guy wouldn't be able to do. Coming from the background I come from, that's a big deal. I'm very proud of myself."
White, who grew up in Shreveport, La., became the third of the Bills' six drafted rookies to sign a contract, joining linebackers Matt Milano (fifth round) and Tanner Vallejo (sixth round). Just hours later, wide receiver Zay Jones – the first of the Bills’ two second-round draft picks – became the fourth member of the draft class to sign when he inked a four-year deal.
"My job is to focus on football. I see guys, when contracts are not done, they want to hold out," White said. "I'm a guy, I'm all about competing. I feel like my calling here is to play football. I came in to compete, learn the playbook, get comfortable around the guys. Earn everything. ... Earn the right to play along with guys like Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, and the other guys in our secondary. ... I never once thought about the contract, or it's not done, or holding out or anything like that. I love the game, so I'm going to do that before anything."
White saw some first-team reps during Thursday's practice inside the AdPro Sports Training Center.
"Now that I got a couple reps and a couple sets, I'm comfortable. I know what I'm doing now," White said. "I know where my help is. I know what some of the linebackers are doing. I know what the nickel and safeties are doing. If I continue down that road of just knowing what everybody else does on the field, it'll make my job that much easier."
White credited veterans Ronald Darby and Kevon Seymour for helping with his transition.
"Man, I couldn't ask for better," he said. "Those guys have been 100-percent supportive. Kevon and Ronald, I talk to those guys. We talk after every rep. We want to know what each other is thinking and what we see."
Jones signed his contract, but wasn’t on the practice field Thursday. That’s because he suffered a knee injury Tuesday during the Bills’ first full-team practice and is “week to week,” according to the team.
Rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman also was not at practice Thursday. He is attending the NFL Rookie Premier taking place through Saturday in Los Angeles. He's expected to be back next week.
Also not practicing Thursday were: wide receiver Sammy Watkins (foot), tight end Blake Annen (neck), offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio (hip), wide receiver Kolby Listenbee (sports hernia) and left tackle Cordy Glenn (ankle). Center Eric Wood and tight end Charles Clay were given "maintenance" days, according to the team. Fullback Mike Tolbert and linebacker Eddie Yarbrough were also not spotted, although it's unclear if their absences were injury related. OTAs are voluntary.
Bills General Manager Brandon Beane continues to fill out his personnel staff.
The team announced Thursday that Lake Dawson as been hired as the assistant director of college scouting. Dawson most recently worked for the Cleveland Browns as a national scout. He has 22 years of NFL experience as a player (six years) and scout (16 seasons). He worked as the vice president of player personnel during his time with the Tennessee Titans from 2007-15.
“Lake has worked hard," Beane said in a press release issued by the team. "He's had a heck of a career. He rose to a level of VP of Player Personnel. He's interviewed for multiple GM positions. To have a guy with his experience and leadership … it’s a strong addition.”
Dawson is a former third-round draft choice of the Kansas City Chiefs out of Notre Dame in 1994. He caught 103 passes and 10 touchdowns in four seasons.
“There’s no question that you can’t match what a player who understands what players goes through and what makes good players,” Beane told the Bills’ official website. “In the interview we talked about what type of player are we looking for? High character. Lake understands that it is the guy on the field, but as the Assistant College Director, we’re going to make sure our college scouts are working the background and the character on prospects. What type of man are we getting when we scout these guys?”
The Bills also hired a pair of national scouts in Marvin Allen and Brian Adams.
“Both men are veterans in this league,” Beane told the team’s website. “They’ve been in it for a long time. It’s the same thing as players, we want to grow and develop. These are two guys who will be over the younger scouts and be part of helping us grow and develop our scouting staff. You just can’t replace their time and accomplishments in the league.”
Allen, who had a four-year playing career after the Packers chose him in the 11th round of the 1998 NFL draft, has 24 years of NFL scouting experience, including the last four as director of college scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was an area scout for the New England Patriots from 1993-2008.
“He’s going to be a great resource not only for me, but for all our college scouts,” Beane said.
Adams previously worked with Beane in Carolina, and has more than 30 years of NFL scouting experience. He was most recently a regional scout for the Dallas Cowboys.
“We had a long history there,” Beane said of Adams. “He’s a veteran in scouting and well respected across the league. I look forward to reuniting with him.”
The calendar reads May 19, but you couldn't tell by watching the Buffalo Bills practice Thursday.
An intensity usually reserved for training camp was on display during the team's third organized team activity of the spring, highlighted by a pair of skirmishes inside the AdPro Sports Training Center.
First, defensive end Max Valles and tight end Keith Towbridge exchanged a combination of punches and slaps after a whistle (each still had their helmets on). Then, defensive end Shaq Lawson and right tackle Jordan Mills continued to go at each other well after the stoppage of play, with both players refusing to let go of the other's facemask. On the previous play, Lawson was slow to get up after appearing to hurt his right arm or wrist while being blocked by Mills. Coach Sean McDermott was right in the middle of the two players to break them up.
"It just got a little hostile," Lawson said after practices. "We was competing against each other all day, just trying to get each other better. It's part of practice."