Giving It All For The Buffalo Bills


Giving It All For The Buffalo Bills

There wasn’t much growing up in the City of Buffalo for millennials. Canalside was just a dirt field, social media wasn’t a thing, and the Chippewa strip was something that you didn’t want to be anywhere near.

Buffalo’s sports teams are what really kept the heartbeat going for this city during the early ‘90s. Family and football were the only subjects that mattered outside of trying to put food on the table.

The Buffalo Bills were historic in the early 90s with four straight Super Bowl appearances, four straight AFC banners and four Hall of Fame players.

For former Bills’ fullback Corey Knox, football was the only outlet to get away from the stress at home.

“I didn’t exactly have the most “normal” childhood. I think a big part of who I am was really built while I was growing up in Buffalo,” Knox told BuffaLowDown. “We had two parents that when separate were very great people but when combined were incredibly toxic.”

A part of Knox’s childhood was spent in the midst of drug and alcohol induced fights that regularly resulted in the cops visiting their home.

“We saw and heard a lot of things that kids shouldn’t,” Knox said. “We dealt with situations that were incredibly traumatizing and unforgettable. We spent a lot of time at friend’s houses and at our grandparent’s place.”

Even though he had troubles at home, he had love and support from his parents. His dad signed him up to play football at a very young age. He attached Corey to the Bills when he worked at Rich Stadium (now Ralph Wilson Stadium) as a bartender in one of the suites. Knox’s father would sneak Corey and his brother into games. It was a great tool to bond with his father and started Corey’s passion for the Bills.

“I would go to every single home game from the time I was old enough to go until he stopped working there. I grew up in that atmosphere; I was born in ‘89 so I was born right before the Super Bowl years. I was probably too little to understand what was going on but I could definitely feel the energy and joy of what was happening,” Knox said. “I think it definitely impacted me at a young age that I could feel those Super Bowl losses. I think everybody could, even if you were a baby or just growing up. Kids absorb energy and they can tell when something’s good and when something’s bad. At that point in my life, I started to get decked out in Bills clothes and I think that’s when the wheels started to turn. I grew up playing football in my backyard pretending I was some of the greatest Buffalo Bills of all-time. It just snowballed from that.”

More from BuffaLowDown

Knox would use football as an outlet from his troubles at home and a way to bond with his father. His father was the one that helped him get into the sport due to his role with the Bills as a bartender on game days.

The joy Knox had at Bills games energized him on the field where he was a linebacker and fullback at JFK High School.

From there he aspired to play college ball, but college coaches found flaws In Knox’s size. Knox wouldn’t give up, and used track and field to gain the size College Football coaches truly wanted.

“I gave it everything I had,” Knox said. “I always wanted to play college football but unfortunately, when I graduated high school, I wasn’t quite big enough to command a Division I offer. I was middle linebacker/fullback sitting at 185-190 pounds and those kinds of guys don’t get looked at by the big time schools. Even UB (University at Buffalo) would have probably been a stretch. I ended up having to go away. I got a track and field scholarship to a small school in Fremont Nebraska. I worked my butt off there and got bigger and stronger.”

By the time Knox was a junior, he was out throwing many of the other throwers on his track and field team and was up to 250-255 pounds. Knox was throwing up better numbers in the weight room than most of the football players after his size increase. He realized he was big enough for Division l level football, and wanted to continue to complete his long time goal of representing his city.

“Ever since I was a kid I wanted to play for UB. We talked about it in high school. It wasn’t a reality then but it did become a reality by the time I was a junior,” Knox said. “I tried to walk on and they didn’t want any part of it. They said “you haven’t played in 3-4 years. There is no way you’ll adjust to the game speed. We can’t take a risk on a guy like you just to waste a spot.” I begged them my junior year to walk on and [University at Buffalo Head Coach] Jeff Quinn and his staff would not let me.”

Knox sat outside of Quinn’s office every day over the summer until the coaches had a meeting with him. After losing a year of eligibility and sitting his entire junior year, the begging from Knox led to a walk-on spot and an invite to training camp.

He started out as the 4th fullback on the depth chart and jumped to first string after a week with pads on. A great moment that helped him earn the spot was knocking down First team All-American Khalil Mack on his back during a scrimmage.

”They recognized the physicality, that I love to hit, that I could catch, I could move my feet. That I really was someone who was giving it everything I had. That’s something I’ve always done and something I’ll always do,” Knox said. “It’s funny because the next day after I pancaked Mack, the linebackers coach came up to me and he goes “We got a fullback now”. That’s kind of how football coaches are. Football coaches are a certain breed. Not all of them, but you need to prove what you can do for them before they are really going to have respect for you.”

Knox earned an invite to Buffalo Bills rookie minicamp after his senior season at UB, but was quickly released before pads were put on. It was a moment that Knox would not let go.

“I don’t want to say I got lost in the shuffle, but it was a star-studded cast of people and it might not have given me a chance to stand out as much,” Knox said.

Knox concluded by saying he will do anything to get back out on the field for his home team not matter how long or how much it takes.

Related Story: For the transcript of our Corey Knox Interview Click Here

“If I could get in front of NFL GM’s and say a couple of lines about what I think I can bring it would be that I don’t think anyone wants it more than me,” Knox said. “I would die for it. I am not afraid to die for it. I’m not afraid to give it everything I have. I don’t care about money. If I cared about money I would have stopped chasing this dream a long time ago and just started working.”

What coach wouldn’t want a player with that type of mindset on his team?