On the third Sunday of this month, dads across the country will be celebrating what has been designated as their day. This year, Bills kicker Rian Lindell and punter Brian Moorman have both joined those ranks, and each will be celebrating his first Father's Day as a parent.
The two have been teammates in Buffalo for seven seasons, and are vital components of the Bills special teams game plan. Despite their close friendship, both insist that the timing of the birth of their first children was purely coincidental.
"Both of us have wanted to start families for a long time and it just worked out that this happened to be the year we were both blessed with it," said Moorman, whose wife Amber gave birth to son Cooper on April 13. "It was a cool thing because we found out we were pregnant, and then my wife got a text message from Rian's wife a couple weeks later that she was pregnant. It was fun to go through it together."
Lindell, who along with his wife Johna welcomed daughter Abigail into the world on April 27, said that it took a week or so to set in that he was the proud father of a baby girl.
"This isn't something that is just going to last a month or two," he said. "You start to see a little more interaction with her, going on six weeks old. It sinks in more and more every day. It's something."
For all of his accomplishments on and off the field, Moorman said that the feeling he had the day his son was born is hard to put into words.
"I don't think I will ever forget the feeling of seeing our child born. That image is going to be in my mind forever, and I can go back to that day anytime I want, and it really can brighten any bad day that I've got," he said. "Just being able to look at him and see him every morning is really a great feeling."
The life of an NFL football player often requires a great deal of time, effort, and commitment to being the best one can be. While the Bills are still in the preliminary stages of team workouts, building toward training camp in late July, Moorman said he has been able to adjust his offseason schedule accordingly.
"We're extremely lucky that we were able to have Cooper in the offseason, so I have been able to be around during the day. Obviously, things change when we have OTAs and when minicamp started, and I wasn't able to get home until the afternoon," he said. "For the most part, I try to take part (in being a parent) as much as I can, and I have a feeling if I tried to change a diaper wrong so I didn't have to change as many, my wife would make me re-do it until I got it right (laughing). We just try to work together as a team and want to raise him as best we can, a happy baby, a healthy baby, and enjoy the whole process."
Lindell shared similar sentiments about how the time commitment in the offseason has allowed him to play a large role thus far in his daughter's life.
"My wife Johna certainly gets more of the work, but when I go home I try to take over feeding or some of the other things around the house. She's been a super mom in making my job easier," he said. "Here, the schedule really isn't too bad; most people work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and try to beat traffic to be home by 6. It's been pretty fortunate with the hours that I have."
Moorman and Lindell have worked closely with children during their careers in Buffalo, as both are actively involved with numerous charitable organizations throughout Western New York. Having a child of one's own, who is now a permanent part of the family, has provided a great deal of perspective to both players.
"You certainly see what a big part of life that they are. You usually see kids and it's kind of like, 'well, that's something that just happens to other people,'" Lindell said. "Now, you see how they come in and are a part of the family. So to see other people having trouble with their kids, it definitely hits home a little more, what they are going through."
"That's one reason that Rian and I looked forward to being fathers, because we've enjoyed working with kids so much. One thing that it does do is make me realize how important it is for my family to continue work with our foundation," Moorman said. "Right now, Cooper has a little cold, and we're worried about him, and you don't realize the extent of it until you have a child of your own. Knowing what families go through when their children are sick, and have to be in the hospital weeks at a time, this really has put it in a new perspective for us."
With countless memories shared on the football field, these two new dads are adding up the memories off of it, cherishing the moments with their toddlers as they begin to grow. While fatherhood as a whole has been enjoyable for both, Lindell said that there are certain moments that are his favorite.
"After feeding, when you get that good burp, and then she's awake for a little bit but not fussy," he said. "Then she kind of looks around, and you can play with her a bit more. That's pretty cool."
As they both enjoy their first Father's Day, a day that commemorates not only the births of their children but the new responsibilities that each has taken on in life, Moorman said that the day will put in perspective for him what fatherhood meant for his own father and grandfather.
"You can definitely say that it is just another day, but it will be a special day knowing that we waited a long time to be parents, and now you have this day dedicated to you," he said. "Seeing how my wife's eyes lit up on Mother's Day, I am looking forward to Father's Day as well."