Jordan Poyer's 2016 season with the Cleveland Browns ended after only six games when he suffered a lacerated kidney.
It was a frightening experience, one the fifth-year NFL safety does his best to avoid discussing for public consumption.
It led to uncertainty about his future at a position that would frequently cause him to be involved in fierce collisions – just like the one he had at Tennessee that caused the injury in the first place.
After making a career-best 39 tackles and defending two passes in less than half of last season, Poyer is resuming his career with the Buffalo Bills. He treats the lacerated kidney, from which he says he's "one-hundred-percent" recovered, as more of a distant memory than one that still haunts him.
"It’s definitely a blessing to just put the cleats on again and be (back) on the field after the injury last season," Poyer told reporters during the Bills' recent mandatory minicamp. "I put that behind me and I’m excited to move forward with this group of guys."
The particular group of which Jordan is a part is the Bills' newest. He and Micah Hyde were signed as free agents in March to fill the starting safety spots that Aaron Williams and Corey Graham once occupied. The third new face in the secondary is likely to be that of first-round draft pick Tre'Davious White, who is expected to start at cornerback.
Through offseason practices, they've been growing together as a unit, along with incumbent starting cornerback Ronald Darby. They've been starting fresh, learning a defense in which they're all playing for the first time.
They're also learning each other.
"We’re all new to this system, to the verbiage," Poyer said. "Guys haven’t played with each other before, so just being able to learn the defense from square one and be able to communicate since square one and understand where you’re supposed to be, when you’re supposed to be there, I think that’s a huge key."
He appreciates the education he's getting from defensive backs coach Gill Byrd, a former NFL player. Poyer says Byrd, with his outgoing personality, does as much inspiring as teaching.
"It's a guy that you want to listen and a guy you want to play for," Poyer said.
The areas that Byrd and assistant defensive backs coach Bobby Babich, who has an animated style that is also engaging, stressed during the offseason were the importance of finishing plays and taking proper angles to the ball.
Poyer and his fellow defensive backs got a heaping dose of how to communicate with each other through hand signals and words.
"Communication is key in this defense and the coaches rely on the safeties a lot to make a lot of the calls," Poyer said. "(Hyde) and I together, I think we’re coming along really well. The communication is there, the chemistry is there. I think if we just keep building day by day, we’ll get to where we want to be."
"We’re growing as a defense each and every day, especially in the meeting rooms and then you take it out here on the football field. You see it in practice and it’s exciting and it’s exciting to be a part of. I can’t wait to just keep growing with this unit."