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Vontae Davis calls joining the Bills 'a great situation for me as a player'

INDIANAPOLIS – Vontae Davis couldn't shake the good vibes he got in Buffalo.

The Bills were the first team Davis visited on his recent free-agent tour that also included stops in Cleveland, San Francisco, Oakland and Miami. After traversing the country, he concluded that the first stop on his journey was the best.

"As I went on my visits and I kind of evaluated things, it felt like I just belonged in Buffalo because how everybody made me feel," Davis said Friday, speaking on a conference call with the Western New York media. "I feel like they run that organization with a lot of integrity. They respect their players. I just felt like it was the place for me to be. Coach McDermott, those guys, they made me feel very welcome when I went on the visit. I liked the facility. Even though Buffalo was one of my first visits, as I evaluated things, it seemed like it just stuck with me throughout all my visits, Buffalo and their whole organization. It made a huge impression on me."

Davis, 29, was impressed with how the Buffalo secondary performed last season. Despite featuring four brand-new starters, the Bills finished sixth in the NFL in interceptions and seventh in passes defended.

"I mean, it seemed like those guys played forever together," Davis said. "That was impressive for them to play just one year together, the production they had. It was very intriguing because all those guys, they're very young players. I believe it was the perfect fit for me at this point in my career. I think I can just help those guys as far as my leadership and being able to also play with a group of talented young guys that I feel are very proven in this league."

Davis signed a one-year contract with the Bills that has a $4.375 million cap hit, according to ESPN, but could be worth more based on incentives.

"I feel like I've played in some meaningful games in my career," he said. "I'm a professional. I know how to approach every day, week in, week out. I think I can help Tre'Davious White a lot as far as professionally growing as a player and how you approach the game."

As the incentives in his contract show, Davis has something to prove in 2018. He played in just five games in 2017 before being released by the Colts in November. His six-year career in Indianapolis came to a messy end, with the team benching him less than 24 hours before its Week 9 game against Houston. The Colts announced that decision was not related to any injury, but Davis maintained that he never fully recovered from a groin injury that he originally suffered in the preseason.

Shortly after being released, Davis, a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 2014-15, elected to have surgery. He was cleared by doctors on Valentine's Day.

"Right now, I'm still rehabbing," he said Friday. "I was cleared two weeks ago, so it's a process. I'm still doing a lot of strengthening work. I'm not sure about the spring yet. I'll probably be limited, but right now I'm making progress as far as my rehab process. I'm back training. I'm cleared to do everything, it's just a process with the strengthening work and everything."

Davis didn't have much to say about his divorce from the Colts.

"I mean, it's the NFL, you know? I can't really focus on last year," he said. "I'm a Bill now, so I'm moving forward. It's a very unfortunate situation, but it's part of the NFL."

Davis' addition likely means the Bills will not retain EJ Gaines, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent when the NFL's new league year starts March 14.

"I'm pretty familiar with coach Leslie Frazier," Davis said. "It was intriguing to go play with, I figure, a very young, talented secondary. ... I just felt like the Bills were the best fit for me as a player at this point in my career. I was impressed by their young talent and also at the veterans they did have in the locker room. ... I just thought that was a great situation for me as a player."

 

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