Bradham relishes special teams role

Posted May 17, 2012

Sometimes in football the special teams aspect of the game goes underappreciated and unnoticed. Buffalo’s fourth round draft selection Nigel Bradham would beg to differ.

“I always took it as being the first play of defense, usually from punt or kickoff. Pretty much I just felt like that was important, that was my first play on the field. I took it as that’s the first play that I am going to play and I got to go out there and set a demeanor, set the tone,” said Bradham.

Bradham is a physically imposing force who is looking to make an immediate impact with the Buffalo Bills this season. Playing on special teams is something that he has always been passionate about and he hopes to immediately help the team in that phase of the game.

“Yes, most definitely I am sure hoping I will be able to get out there and contribute on special teams anyway I can and pretty much just hope I can impact the team in any kind of way,” Bradham said.

He utilized the special teams part of the game in college as a tool to set an example for his teammates around him.

“Being able to go out there on special teams and then right to defense pretty much just says a lot about your character.” said Bradham.

The linebacker was a leader and team captain at Florida State. He led the team in tackles for three straight seasons, while consistently contributing on special teams. He also bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times and ran an impressive 4.64 in the 40 yard dash at the combine. All of these factors were notable and he certainly impressed the Bills scouting department.

“He’s a physical kid and he’s got good size. With the spread formations now, a lot of the linebackers are smaller than we would like. But he’s got good size,” said Bills Scout Darrell Moody. “He’s got good straight-line speed and is a great special teams player. I’ve done this for 10 years and I think in the 10 years that I’ve done it, of a starter playing on special teams; I think he covers better than any starter I’ve ever seen on special teams. He really works hard covering punts and kickoffs. He’s a productive player for them and he’s been a very productive special teams player for them.”

This past weekend provided rookies a chance to really get their feet wet and finally get out onto an NFL field. Bradham was excited to get into camp and wanted to show the Bills coaching staff a few things about his game.

“I pretty much just want to show how fast I can learn,” said Bradham. “Hopefully I can help in any kind of way to contribute to the team. Pretty much just show them from special teams to defense. Doing whatever they need me to do, being a role player or anything I need to do to work on to get better as a player and just earn my respect from teammates and coaches.”

Work ethic and retention are two things Bradham stressed he wanted to work on this weekend and these are two critical elements to this camp, according to Bills Head Coach Chan Gailey.

“You try to see the effort that a guy gives. You want to see if a guy is a lazy guy or if he is a worker. You’re trying to figure that out,” said Gailey. “You try to figure out does a guy retain what you teach him. Can he hold on from day one to day two what you taught him day one and add on day two, so you’re looking at that. And those are the two main things.”

Bradham felt he made progress each day of the minicamp, which was all he had set out to do coming into his first days on the field as a professional.

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I felt like I had a much better practice the second day than I did the first day. I was learning a little bit more each day even though it was not the whole playbook, but it was definitely a great experience. I am just going to keep working hard and get better.”