Jeremy Butler and Tyrod Taylor have a special link, dating back to when they were teammates on the Baltimore Ravens in 2014.
Butler was a rookie wide receiver, playing his first game in an NFL uniform. Taylor was in his fourth and final season as the Ravens' backup quarterback.
It was late in the fourth quarter of a preseason-opener against the San Francisco 49ers. Taylor, having replaced starter Joe Flacco, threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Butler for the final points of a 23-3 victory.
"He passed me my first touchdown in Baltimore my rookie year, so (there's) that chemistry and that relationship," Butler said during a recent conference call with media covering the Bills.
Now, they're back together, with Taylor agreeing to a restructured contract -- including a $10-million pay cut -- to remain the Bills' starter for a third season and Butler signing as a free agent to provide the team much-needed depth at receiver.
Since that preseason game, Butler has gone on to have a modest NFL career. A shoulder sprain landed him on the Ravens' injured-reserve list before the start of the 2014 regular season.
The Ravens released him just before the start of the 2015 regular season, re-signed him to their practice squad, then activated him when injuries depleted their receiving corps. Butler finished the year with 31 catches for 363 yards, including a long of 41.
The Ravens cut him again, just before the 2016 season. Butler proceeded to have brief stints on the rosters of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets before ending the year with the San Diego Chargers, for whom he caught two passes for 11 yards.
He's excited about the opportunity to again catch passes from Taylor, whom Butler long felt had the skills to be a successful NFL quarterback.
"Even back then, I’ve seen his talents, seen his ability," Butler said. "He had that poise and that cool, calm, collected mentality and always a great arm and mobility. Just overall a good quarterback. I mean, I knew of him from college and watching him at Virginia Tech doing his thing then I finally had a chance to play with him at Baltimore, being a rookie, running with the second team and being on the second-unit with him.
"I just know what kind of guy he is, a great guy, a great player. So that was a really big factor in this whole situation, and I’m looking forward to helping him grow together, help being a part of the wide receiving core and help out the way I can, bring my abilities, my talents to the table with him."