Q: Congratulations. I understand that you had made up your mind even before the season ended, but what does the significance of today mean for you, coming back to the team?
A: I’m excited about it, and I think more than anything, I talked to John Murphy about it earlier, when it comes down to it, as eloquently as I can put it, I haven’t exhausted myself in the pursuit of what my dream is of playing this game, of playing for this organization, and chasing being a champion. Buffalo is home. It’s where I want to be, it’s where I want to win, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Q: Kyle, ultimately the negotiation came to a head this week. Did you at any point have doubts that you would be returning for a 13th season?
A: I never really let my mind get too far on any of the, I guess, the doubt or the negative side that this may not work out. I guess I kind of had hope that it would. Obviously the closer that we got into, I guess, the sort of ‘what tomorrow brings’, there’s a little bit of stuff that’s creeping in and some outside noise, but I really had my focus on what I wanted to happen [and] what I wanted to do. We were able to get something done where they bring me back and that I think both sides are happy and excited with. We’re ready to just work.
Q: Kyle, first congratulations [and] welcome back. When did it really kind of start with- did you inform Brandon Beane early on in the process, did your agent say, ‘yeah, we want to come back’? When did all of the discussions start taking place when they kind of knew that you did want to return?
A: It’s kind of been a pretty long process. It was first to start with, “yeah, hey, listen, I definitely want to come back. I definitely want to play. Those are my intentions, those are my plans.” Then, you start kind of picking away at things. It’s amazing how quickly they can wrap up when there’s a league-wide deadline, you know what I’m saying? We kind of really over the last few days, really kind of got down to it and talked it out. Like I said earlier, [I’m] really excited about it, to pump up the staff and everybody. Everybody’s fired up and I couldn’t be happier and more excited.
Q: Kyle, does any of this also reflect on, I know it was announced as a one-year contract, but how much does it reflect on your belief, that goal that you want, that championship that you want to be a part of, is in reach of this team for this one year that you’re signed up for?
A: Well, obviously there’s a lot of things that haven’t happened and a lot of things that have to play out, but at the same time, you guys know as well as us, [that] I believe wholeheartedly that you don’t win championships and you don’t win games on paper, looking at who you don’t have or who you do have. That’s why you play the game, that’s why you build a team. That’s why you hold guys accountable to the standard that you have and you try and make it happen. I know there’s a whole lot of things that are going to happen between now and the first time we kick a football off in September, so my job now is to get ready to play, to work out and get bigger and stronger, and get ready to go and come in and lead these guys and bring this team as close as I possibly can together. We do have an opportunity here to go chase something like a championship.
Q: When you were there [and] you learned about Eric [Wood] and his injury, did that in any way maybe give you pause, knowing you were so fortunate to not have something like that about 12 seasons?
A: Yeah, I think that’s something that we all weigh playing the game that we play, knowing the risks that are out there [and] knowing wear and tear, the potential it does and damage it does to your body and things like that. We wouldn’t even be at a point right now to talk about something like this, a one-year contract extension, if I didn’t feel healthy and didn’t feel like I can go out and play in a way that I’ve done, but also in a way that I obviously can protect myself and let it rip and get after it like I always have. That’s something that you really, as a player, you’re like ‘yeah, it’s out there’, but you really don’t think about it. You’re just trying to get ready to go out and compete and play. Obviously, we’ll all miss Eric, and you hate to see something like that happen, but in the business that we’re in, it’s almost kind of is the ‘toss it to a business’ sometimes. Although you hate to see it happen and you obviously never want to see it happen to a guy like Eric, we all know what’s out there potentially.
Q: Hey Kyle, two questions: First, you played a lot of snaps last year. Do you anticipate that you’ll be able to give it the same snap counts as last year? Secondly, if you can just comment on the Bills reportedly signing Star Lotulelei to be right next to you on the line.
A: I don’t sign a contract or come into a football season saying, “Hey, you know what, really all I can do is play the last play.” I prepare myself to play as many as a possible can because, mentality wise, I feel like we’re a better football team when I’m on the field. That’s a reason I’m coming back. I’m coming back to play, I’m not coming back to say, “Oh hey, I’ll just play 25, 30 snaps a game and let you guys fight over the rest.” I’m coming out to play, to compete, to win. There are reports out there about Star and I know nothing’s official, so it’s really hard to kind of get into that. I know him as a player, and I’m all for bringing on as many good players as we can, getting to know these guys, get these guys on kind of what our vision is and where we’re going and really make a charge to be as good a football team as we can be. There’s a whole lot of work that has to go down before we do that, and a guy like that, or as many guys like that, are obviously going to help.
Q: Kyle, what’s your reaction to the two big trades that happened in the last five days? Tyrod [Taylor] being traded to Cleveland, and of course, the trade with Cincinnati with Cordy [Glenn] that allowed the Bills to now have the 12th overall pick. Just your opinion of how you see the front office doing, what it’s doing?
A: Well, I think the longer you’re around, the more you see things like that happen. You learn to adjust. Obviously, both of those guys I enjoyed playing with, [they were] great teammates. Tyrod, moving on, going to Cleveland, obviously that leaves a void there that I’m sure we’ll address in some shape or fashion. With Cordy, I hate to see Cordy leave, but I thought Dion [Dawkins] did a great job last year. We have somebody in place there that we think can play, but more than anything, I think it goes back to really believing in and trusting what Brandon [Beane] and Sean [McDermott] are doing [and] really buying into that. I do, I believe in what they’re trying to do. I believe in their vision of what they’re trying to build. For me, I’m on board with what they’re doing. My job at this point it to take whoever we bring in through free agency or through the draft, and say, “Hey, this is how it works and this is who we’re going to be” [and] hold them to a standard and continue to push guys, as I said earlier, so we can make a run at the things that we want - playoffs, championships, and doing good things in Buffalo.