Jags’ Malik Jackson calls Bills’ trade of Dareus disrespectful, Bills room preps for Marcell meeting (video)
By: Nick Wojton
ORCHARD PARK – His exit was about as abrupt as one could get, just like the realization that the two would meet again on Sunday in Jacksonville.
The Buffalo Bills (9-7) will prep for their first playoff game in 17 seasons this week and along the way they’re going to have to address how to handle with something big, or should I say, Mr. Big Stuff.
Marcell Dareus, the former first-round, third-overall pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2011, said to the Jacksonville media earlier this week he’s excited to face his former team. On Wednesday in the Buffalo locker room, it was a mixed bag of responses on the ex-Bill while one of Dareus’s new teammates decided to take a stand for him.
Playing alongside Dareus on the Jags’ defensive front is defensive tackle Malik Jackson.
The two have been teammates for nine games since Dareus was sent south to Jacksonville on a deal announced on Oct. 27, a Friday evening.
Jackson called the move by the Bills a slap in his now-teammates’ face, adding he thinks Dareus will get his revenge.
“I think it’s disrespectful to him. I think that’s what he takes it as. As a player whose worth your salt, that’s what you take it as. That’s a team you’re giving your all to, the only team you’ve been on and they let you go for a sixth-round pick [became a fifth-round pick], that means they didn’t want you for anything. I think he’s going to show his worth on Sunday. I’m just glad he’s on our team,” Jackson said.
As for the man himself, Dareus had a business-like approach when discussing his former team on Monday with a few flashes in the pan. Dareus told Phillip Heilman of Jacksonville.com (Florida Times-Union) that it’s “ironic as hell” he’s playing Buffalo this week.
“I’m just happy for the opportunity, man,” Dareus said this week. “It’s just crazy. God is funny. Just don’t question his work. Just do your job.”
“They had to make a move, and it’s business,” Dareus added.
From the visitors headquarters in Orchard Park, NY, most teammates said they haven’t completely kept tabs with Dareus.
“No, we don’t really have that type of relationship,” center Eric Wood said.
Linebacker Preston Brown echoed Wood.
“Naw, I’m not going to talk to Marcell this week. I mean, I just don’t really talk to him any other week so I’m not going to talk to him now,” Brown said with a chuckle.
Neither meant player appeared to have any ill-will toward their former teammate. Both appeared to have the life goes on/ business mentality.
But there appeared to be an exception. Dareus’ former positional group teammates sure have kept up with him. Defensive tackle Adolphus Washington, who essentially filled his shoes, said he expects to talk to Dareus at some point this week in a group text message that positional group still carries on.
“You can never forget about a guy like Marcell,” Washington said. “I really looked at him to learn. He’s a guy who has dominated in this league.”
“He’s a guy I leaned on,” Washington said.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, 12-year veteran Kyle Williams was a guy that Dareus did his leaning on. Williams said he tried to provide as much guidance as he could to Dareus during his often trouble times with the Bills which included both injury and suspension issues.
“I just think of all my teammates, I haven’t poured into anybody as much as I did him. We have a special relationship. I facetimed with him yesterday, I told him if he’s in on goal line, he better watch out,” Williams said with a laugh. “We got that out of the way, I said ‘I show no quarter,’ and he knows that. Any time that you’re around this game long enough, you’re always going to have friends that move on, coaches that move on. It is what it is. Obviously, I’ll see him, it’ll be special to see him. I wish him enough luck to get second place on Sunday.”
But none of his former teammates had a say in his departure. During his tenure in Orchard Park, Dareus appeared to be well-liked. Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott? That on the other hand, remains a mystery. McDermott said the deal to trade Dareus was the right move for the franchise.
“We made the decision that was right for our team. I know we’ve moved on, and it appears he’s moved on. I wish him nothing but the best. It seems like he’s playing at a high level, just like the rest of their defense,” McDermott said.
Both sides will face one another for the first time since the late-October trade on Sunday at 1 p.m. at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.