ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Prevented from flying due to the effects of a collapsed lung, Bills safety Jordan Poyer and the team came up with the next best alternative for him to get to Kansas City for the game against the Chiefs.
The team rented a luxury van, which included a sleeping area, for Poyer, his wife and child to make the 14-hour, nearly 1,000-mile trip to Arrowhead Stadium for Buffalo’s 24-20 victory over the Chiefs on Sunday.
And Poyer was still on the road on Monday’s return trip long after the rest of the team arrived in Buffalo to begin their bye week.
“What a level of commitment, right?” coach Sean McDermott said Monday, a day after news of Poyer’s travel arrangements following the win broke.
“Just that level of dedication and commitment, I think, goes a long way from our team. And he’s not the only one. We have a lot of guys, and that would do. So my hat goes off to Jordan on this one.”
Poyer was limited from driving because rib injuries he suffered in a 23-20 win at Baltimore two weeks ago led to a collapsed lung, which medical staff feared could be affected by the changes in air pressure that come with air travel. Poyer, however, was cleared to play after missing last week’s 38-3 win over Pittsburgh due to injury.
The decision to drive Poyer to Kansas City was made over the past week with input from the team’s head athletic trainer Nate Breske as well as the players, McDermott said.
“I won’t go into it too much, but I trust our medical staff in their communication with Jordan, in this case, and I know our doctors were very involved. I’ll leave it at that,” McDermott said, noting that Poyer left for Kansas City after Friday’s practice.
Poyer isn’t the first NFL player to have to rely on cross-country travel to get to a game. Former Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson, who now plays in Cleveland, took a 12-hour bus ride to play in the Texans’ 2018 game in Jacksonville after suffering a similar injury.
Poyer now gets a break with Buffalo (5-1) until they host the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 30.
He was credited with playing all 67 defensive snaps, finishing with four against the Chiefs.
Poyer did not mention his method of travel in his postgame interview with reporters.
“Obviously, when you play an opponent like this, you want to come out with a win,” Poyer said of the win. “It’s good that we made it into the bye week. We have to get everything healthy and come home against the Packers.”
Poyer entered Monday tied with Seattle’s Tariq Woolen for the NFL lead with four interceptions. Poyer’s four picks came in just four games after he also missed one outing with a foot injury.
He is in his 10th NFL season and sixth in Buffalo, while in the final year of his contract. Poyer skipped voluntary spring workouts with the Bills in an attempt to negotiate a contract extension.
Although the Bills did not extend his contract, they restructured the final year by increasing his bonuses to $2 million, up from $500,000 last month.
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