New Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe said he has each of the jerseys from the 10 football teams he suited up for displayed in his office.
What’s his favorite?
“This one that I’ve got now,” Nsekhe said with a big laugh Thursday upon being introduced at One Bills Drive.
Nsekhe hit a free-agent jackpot of sorts by signing a two-year contract with the Bills for $14.5 million and $7.7 million guaranteed.
It was a long time coming for a 33-year-old who has spent most of his football life on minimum-salary deals.
Consider the pro teams he has signed with since coming out of Texas State in 2009: Corpus Christi Sharks, Dallas Vigilantes, Philadelphia Soul, San Antonio Talons, Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams, New Orleans Saints, Montreal Alouettes, Los Angeles Kiss, Washington Redskins . . . and now the Bills.
The first four, along with the Kiss, are Arena league teams.
“Ty had a non-traditional path to the NFL, but it shows you a guy who has persevered,” said Bills General Manager Brandon Beane.
“It just speaks to the character that I have,” Nsekhe said of his career. “I’m able to overcome adversity and push through it. It just shows I have great perseverance and I’m willing to get my hands dirty and figure it out.”
It wasn’t until Nsekhe – pronounced In-Secky – signed with the Redskins in 2015 that he finally stuck in the NFL.
He was a minimum-salary player for the Redskins from 2015 to 2017. He played last season on a one-year deal for $2.9 million as a restricted free agent.
A strong showing in five starting assignments in 2018 caught the Bills’ attention.
The 6-foot-8, 330-pounder didn’t allow a sack and gave up just five hurries in 195 snaps at left tackle last season for the Redskins, according to Pro Football Focus. It included an impressive showing against Houston Texans edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney in Week 11. Nsekhe also played 143 snaps at left guard. Overall, he played 40 percent of the Redskins’ offensive plays.
“What I saw on him when you turn the tape on is a guy who played both tackles and played guard as well,” Beane said. “He provides position flex, can play left tackle, right tackle, he can go in at guard if we need him to go there. I would think his starting spot will be at a tackle. He’s a big man. He’s a big man to get around, and he can move pretty good. He’s got pretty good feet. I like the edge. You see a little bit of nasty in him. That’s part of what was attractive to him.”
Where does Nsekhe fit with the Bills? His contract suggests the Bills consider him a strong candidate to start at one of the two tackle spots. Dion Dawkins is the incumbent left tackle. Tackle is prime position of consideration for the Bills early in the NFL Draft.
“They gave me an opportunity to come in and compete for a starting position,” Nsekhe said. “I’m welcome to the task come OTAs and training camp to earn my right to be a Buffalo Bill.”
Asked what the Bills coaches said they liked about him, Nsekhe said:
“My character. They said they liked how I finished. The way I have a nastiness to me. They said they liked how intelligent I played. They said the fact I’m an older guy and I’m a vet fits in here. They said they could use a vet presence on the line to kind of instill a new culture so that’s what I pride on and plan on bringing to the Bills, a veteran presence.”
Nsekhe allowed five sacks in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus, while playing 30 percent of the snaps for the Redskins. In 2016 he allowed just one sack while playing 36 percent of the snaps, all at tackle.
“I was injured and I wasn’t 100 percent,” Nsekhe said of 2017. “So I felt I didn’t put out a good display of myself. So I felt I had to come back with a better year.”
What does Nsekhe think about finally becoming a free-agent prize?
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Nsekhe said. “It was overwhelming at first. But I had to take it all in. God is good. I’m really excited for the opportunity.”