However, defensive lineman Marcell Dareus experienced a more significant loss this past week.
Dareus’ younger brother, Simeon Gilmore, was one of three people murdered during a burglary last weekend in Pelham, Ala. Dareus missed just one practice and indicated that he would be at the Ralph on Sunday for the Bills home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The last defensive player announced during Sunday’s pre-game festivities was Dareus. The ovation he received from the crowd was heartwarming. It also must have motivated Dareus because during the game, he was dialed in.
While Dareus only had two tackles, it was the significance of those tackles that stood out. One of those tackles was an eight-yard sack on Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel. The crowd erupted in cheers and fellow teammates surrounded Dareus. It truly was a special moment for all involved. It was clearly much more than just a sack.
Head coach Chan Gailey loved what he saw in his team.
“It’s amazing,” Gailey told lead journalist Chris Brown. “I’m proud of our football team for rallying around him. It’s not easy what he’s going through and the situation he finds himself. That’s impressive on his part individually and to me impressive about our football team in the way they reacted and helped.”
The Bills went on to win 35-17. To fantasy owners, the star of the game was running back CJ Spiller, who tallied 194 yards from scrimmage and two scores. However, to everyone who attended Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, Dareus was the clear star. The fact that he played on Sunday, despite having just lost his brother, motivated those around him on the field. His teammates rallied around him, as well as the fans in attendance.
“I felt like Buffalo fans are the greatest fans in the NFL,” Dareus said. “They support us whenever we’re down, when we’re up, it doesn’t matter. It’s extended family here, and they made me feel welcome today. I really, really enjoyed it and I really needed it. I want to thank them so much.”
No, Marcell Dareus. We want to thank you.
Adam Pfeifer is a contributor for Rant Sports covering the Buffalo Bills.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.