Top 5 moments from the Bills 2017 Rookie Tour

Posted May 31, 2017

A rundown of the top five highlights from the Bills 10th annual Rookie Tour.

For the Buffalo Bills, a big part of welcoming a rookie class is taking the group on a guided tour of the city. This year marked the 10th annual Bills Rookie Tour and the newcomers made stops at Niagara Falls, New Era Cap Headquarters and the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. Here’s a rundown of the top five highlights from the day.

5. Dawkins' Snapchat takeover at Niagara Falls

For anyone who was following along on the Bills Snapchat account yesterday, it was clear that the Bills new guys were pumped to see one of the natural wonders of the world. Bills OL Dion Dawkins was no exception, as he gave fans a play-by-play of what was happening around him.

 “I was ecstatic,” said Dawkins when describing his reaction to seeing Niagara Falls for the first time. “How close to nature I am and to just see how pretty the water is after it goes over the falls. I’m extremely excited.”

Proving the perfect spot for selfies, and trust me there were a lot of them, Niagara Falls also served as the best place for a group shot. Between the sunshine and the misty glow, who could ask for better backdrop?

4. Behind-the-scenes at New Era Cap

The rookies are no strangers to New Era Cap, but few of them have had the chance to go behind-the-scenes at the world headquarters. Located in the heart of downtown, the guys soon learned that New Era Cap is running an impressive operation. While exploring the brand’s history and finding out how each cap is made, the rookies also discovered that the building used to be a Federal Reserve Bank.

“I think it’s seeing everything behind the scenes [at New Era Cap], usually you only see the store, but getting to see everything that goes along with it is pretty cool,” said RB Jordan Johnson.

At New Era Cap the Bills bunch received far more than a tour of the facility, they also got to design their very own Bills cap. Split up into two groups, the rookies put their creativity to the ultimate test as they worked together to pick out the cap’s style, color and theme. After some healthy debate, the guys were able to agree on what they wanted and watched it come to life on the digital screen.

“I think that’s dope,” said Johnson. “Me and my friend want to design t-shirts and things like that, so I think creating my own cap gave me a sense of how things might work.”

A self-proclaimed lover of style, linebacker Matt Milano explained that designing the cap was his favorite part of the day.

“The part we’re doing right now, where you can design your own cap, is definitely my favorite part [of the tour],” said Milano. “I’m into fashion, I’m into style, so being able to work…with the program with everyone is pretty unbelievable.”

Bills first-round pick CB Tre’Davious White had a blast showing fans around New Era Cap on the team’s Snapchat. Before leaving the headquarters, he and the rookies each got to select a cap from the retail store. With so many options to choose from, this proved difficult for many, including White. After calling on Bills fans to help him out, Tre found the perfect cap to go along with his already stylish look.

3. A look at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park with QB Peterman

When the rookies arrived at the park, it was quarterback Nate Peterman’s turn to try his hand at the Bills Snapchat. With Peterman at the helm, fans got a first-hand look at the park’s three ships – USS Little Rock, USS The Sullivans and USS Croaker. They were also introduced to a special guest - an Alpaca named Mr. T.

2. Meeting with families from Veterans One-Stop

Working with Veterans One-Stop of Western New York, the Bills were joined by military veterans and their family members as they toured the park. Getting to know the veterans, while learning about the ships, proved inspiring for several rookies.

“Most definitely it was Niagara Falls and then going on the submarine ships, the USS Little Rock,” said White when discussing his favorite parts of the day. “Just to know that those guys sacrificed time away from their families, and to stay on a ship for that long, was definitely a humbling experience. It makes me want to celebrate and appreciate life more.”

For others, the experience hit home on a more personal level.

“When we went to the naval park with the ships…I find that pretty cool because I have some family that’s in the army,” said DB Bradley Sylve. “That was a great moment for me. I have a cousin that’s out there right now, that I don’t usually see often…but I know what he had to do to serve us and our country and all the work that he’s had to put in.”

“Having a tour of the naval park with some fans and a couple veterans…it was a really good experience, said G Zach Voytek. “My grandfather served in World War II.”

1. One Team. One City. One Buffalo.

After the tour was complete, the Bills headed to (716) Food and Sport for dinner. Reflecting on the day, the rookies not only felt that they had a better understanding of what Buffalo is all about, they felt a deeper connection to the community.

“Buffalo is unique in its own way,” said White. “The people around here are friendly, everywhere we went everybody wanted to take pictures…you could tell that it’s definitely a great community here and the people care about one another.”