HOUSTON – Kelvin Benjamin pushed back hard Sunday after a pregame report said he was asked by quarterback Josh Allen to run routes and declined.
“Nah, man. That did not happen,” the Buffalo Bills’ receiver said in the visiting locker room at NRG Stadium. “Nothing happened before the game. That’s just a reporter just trying to get her name out there.”
The tweet, from Rochester sports reporter Jenna Cottrell of WHAM-TV, that had Benjamin so incensed said: “Josh Allen just asked Kelvin Benjamin if he wanted to work on routes pregame during warm ups. Kelvin’s answer: No.”
Asked if he was concerned that people will believe that report because of the perception about him, Benjamin said: “That’s what they’re going to believe, man. I can’t do nothing about that. I can control what I can control and that’s coming into work every day, busting my ass and doing what I’ve got to do for this team to win. Everybody else is clutter. That’s noise I can’t feed into.”
Benjamin explained that after stretching and going through his pregame warmup, he usually goes over to Allen to catch a few passes before the quarterback returns to the locker room.
“Josh goes in pretty early (compared to) all the rest of the players, to come in and do his routine,” Benjamin said. “Right before I guess he was about to go in, he asked me, he’s like, ‘Do you need anything?’ And I was like, ‘No, I’m good.’ And then he ended up leaving and then I ended up leaving, but I guess she put the tweet out thinking like this was a big break, you know? I mean, you put stories out there like that and, you know, Twitter pages start to get followers.”
Benjamin said he was not aware of the report until after the game ended with the Texans winning, 20-13.
“I mean, it’s not a big deal, man,” he said. “I just feel bad for you guys, you know, because I feel like that messes up a lot of the reporting that y’all really try to put out there – the truth, you know what I’m saying? To put lies out there against people, that’s why a lot of players are kind of so standoffish for reporters, you know what I’m saying? It sucks for y’all fellas.
“That’s how the world’s going today. That’s how the world works today, right? Just, it’s out there on social media. That’s how it is.”
Bills coach Sean McDermott was asked about the report in his postgame press conference and said he had just learned of it and that he was “going to look into it.”
Benjamin said he usually does run some routes with Allen in pregame, but that he chose not to Sunday because he “came into this game really wanting to conserve my energy to come back in, get an IV, do other things to get ready for the game.”
“Pregame is the player's choice to warm up to get ready for their game,” he said. “I really just wanted to get back in (the locker room), man. We had like maybe 15 minutes to get ready to go back out. I just wanted to get in and just go through my routine.
Once the game did start, Benjamin had two catches for 43 yards. That included a 39-yarder from Allen in the third quarter.
“It’s a read route. Safety was low. I just went over top and Josh put a great ball up,” he said. Earlier in the third quarter, Benjamin had a 44-yard completion that was wiped out by an illegal formation penalty against tight end Jason Croom.
“We’ve just got to keep working and trying to get there, because we can’t stop,” Benjamin said. “We’ve got a game next Sunday, so we can’t just stop and feel bad for ourselves. We’ve got to keep working.”
Benjamin was the intended target on Nathan Peterman’s game-breaking pick-six. The receiver called the route a “simple non stop” and said the Texans were in Cover 2, and that the defensive back jumped inside. Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph caught the pass and went 26 yards for the score. Joseph told reporters that he expected Peterman to go back to Benjamin after targeting him on the previous play.
“I talked to him after the game. Nate knows we love him,” Benjamin said. “We’ve got his back, 100 percent. Everybody in this league throws pickoffs. Everybody in this league drops balls. People try to eye on you when everything’s not going good, they just try to pick on you.”