First off, let's start with the name.
No, Cap Capi's first name isn't actually "Cap." That's a nickname given to him a long time ago by a Pop Warner coach who started off referring to Capi by his last name, and then evenually abbreviated that.
The Buffalo Bills' newest defensive end's given first name is Nordly, which, while still fun, doesn't quite have the ring of "Cap Capi."
"A week or two into practice, all the coaches called me 'Cap,' and ever since then, the nickname's just been rolling," Capi said Wednesday. "Growing up, my friends used to call me Capi anyway, so it was just a childhood thing that always stuck with me. My coaches really got everybody else saying it. ... Even my brothers call me Cap.
"The only person that really calls me Nordly is my mom. I'm Nordly or I'm Nord, it's either one of those two to her, always."
Capi's nickname has definitely brought him more fame than the average NFL journeyman. Back in August, he was a part of a skit on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon. "Here's Cardinals linebacker Cap Capi," Fallon said during his "Tonight Show Superlatives" segment. "He was voted most likely to shop at the Gap gapi, take a nap napi, then wake up and feel hap hapi."
"That was pretty hilarious," Capi said. "I had a lot of people sending me that video."
Of course, Capi and the Bills hope that he can make a name for himself on the field, too. Capi joined the 53-man roster Tuesday after starter Shaq Lawson was placed on injured reserve.
"He’s got some traits that we look for on the field," Bills coach Sean McDermott said. "Love his energy. You could tell from Day One, the first meeting in fact, that he had the right type of energy, a bright smile and so he’s going to get an opportunity.”
Capi has had plenty of those since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Akron. He first signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015, and he has also spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, the Atlanta Falcons, the Arizona Cardinals and most recently the New York Giants.
“It's been tough, man. You always get pretty sad when you get that call, you know, you didn't make the 53-man roster,” he said. “I'm grateful, though, because I've learned a little bit from everywhere I've been, whether it's a new technique. It made me become a more complete player, learning from each different coach that works with me. It's a lot of bad, but it comes with a lot of good, too.”
Capi, 25, is 6-foot-3 and 249 pounds. He joined the Bills’ practice squad Nov. 21 after he was released from the Giants’ injured reserve. He played in four games for New York earlier this season, making two tackles on special teams before going on IR because of a hamstring injury suffered Oct. 22. He’s healthy now.
“Usually when I get released, a team is calling me, wanting to work me out, see what I've got. That means I have some good film out there,” Capi said. “I want to make the most out of those chances. I'm happy that the Bills gave me a chance. I'm going to show them what I have.”
Capi has done some good things during the summer with each team he’s played for. Pro Football Focus analyst Sam Monson tweeted in August that Capi “may be the preseason MVP so far. Guy’s been dominating pretty much every game for the Cardinals.”
PFF graded Capi fourth among edge rushers in the preseason, when he had two sacks, five quarterback hits and 11 hurries in five games.
That production, along with a memorable name, have made Capi something of a fan favorite at his previous stops.
“I try not to read too much into it,” he said. “The fans don't really have a say whether I make the team or not. … You've just got to take your opportunities and make the most of them. Teams are constantly looking for new and better talent. I’ve seen it done before. Now hopefully I can step up to the plate and take advantage of this opportunity.”