Even at 28 years old, Travaris Cadet is finding ways to redefine himself.
The 6-foot-1 back thrust himself into the national conversation this week by steamrolling Chargers safety Tre Boston at the end of a screen play Sunday. Cadet, normally known for his elusiveness, earned NFL Network's Angriest Run of the Week honor for the power move.
"Hits like that you can't forget," Cadet said.
While the collision was unusual for Cadet, the play itself was not. Receiving has always been his strength. He's notched 905 yards through the air as compared to 104 yards rushing in his 67 career NFL games. His Bills debut followed that script as the former Appalachian State Mountaineer caught a team-leading six passes for 39 yards.
"I always was able to run an extended amount of routes ... because the kind of offenses I've been in," Cadet said. "When you're in those kinds of offenses, you have to be able to run those kind of routes. You have to be able to have that versatility."
He offered a strong pass option for Drew Brees and Josh McCown, but his lack of rushing attempts in his time with New Orleans and the Jets hindered him from becoming versatile in play style. With the Bills, he wants to prove he can produce from the backfield, too.
"In this league you don't want to be a one-dimentional player, and that's what I feel like I've been," Cadet said. "Because of certain packages I came out on the field on, teams that played against me knew, 'This guy's a pass catcher.' If you look at the all-time greatest, the Marshall Faulk's, the Darren Sproles', they did both."
Since Mike Tolbert missed the Chargers game with injury, Cadet was able to get reps in basic sets in his debut. He ran for an efficient 17 yards on his three carries, one attempt short of what he had in 15 games with the Saints last season.
On Wednesday, Sean McDermott said a strong first impression could earn Cadet more playing time going forward.
"He impressed us both in the run and the pass game," McDermott said. "I thought he handled it well, so we'll continue to evaluate that."
The Bills may have no choice but to play him often with Tolbert's lingering injury. Tolbert, the only other backup running back on the roster, was limited at practice Wednesday and sat out Thursday.
Even if Tolbert is active, his productivity has been minimal in recent weeks. He has run for 15 yards on 10 attempts in his last three games, including a negative two yard outing against New Orleans. Cadet could move up the depth chart with another strong performance.
"Certainly, No. 39’s (Travaris Cadet) skill set is closer to No. 25 (LeSean McCoy)," offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said. "He seems bright, he caught on really fast and they interchange. Mike has value to our team, I really trust Mike, and obviously, it helps to have another one."