Bills linebacker Eric Striker was labeled undersized coming out of Oklahoma. One thing is certain, there is nothing small about Striker’s heart and soul. It was on full display when he spoke to family and friends after going undrafted in April.
“I’m crying because I’m happy that all y’all came to share this with me,” said Striker in a room that also included NFL cameras.
The Bills signed Striker shortly after the draft. Landing in Buffalo might be the perfect spot for him. Less than a week into training camp, Striker has already practiced with the Bills 1st team defense.
“I got an opportunity here, let’s try to take advantage of it,” said Striker after Tuesday’s night practice at St. John Fisher College. “Let’s go out there and play my game.”
Striker got that chance in part because linebackers Shaq Lawson and Manny Lawson are both injured, but also because he earned it.
“We love his energy,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “We talk about, ‘Hey, look. There is going to be opportunities here and so prove it.'”
It hasn’t been all roses for Striker this offseason. During the Bills rookie minicamp in May, Striker caused a bit of a stir when he questioned the quality of buffalo wings in Western New York, asking “What else can you do to a chicken wing?”
Striker admits he knows better now.
“If I offended anybody, I apologize,” he said with a smile. “The wings are the bomb. I’m loving it.”
Striker may have started training camp well, but he’s far from safe on the roster. The Bills injured players will return and Striker understands that there were 253 players drafted this year and he’s wasn’t one of them.
“To know that you can make a big play and you have an opportunity to play football,” said Striker. “That pushes me. Along with a lot of other things.”
“Like being overlooked from time to time.”