Buffalo Bills: Embedded, presented by Pepsi, premieres tonight, Aug. 15, at 8 p.m. on Facebook Watch. In anticipation of the new series, which gives fans an inside look at the team as they prepare for the upcoming season, Buffalobills.com caught up with tackle Dion Dawkins to find out more about his life on and off the field. Here are 20 answers to questions you might not “already shnow” about the second-year tackle.
1. Where did “Shnowman” come from?
I was in prep school and I said it one time and the guys kept questioning it. [They would say] ‘What’s shnow?’ I was like, if they’re questioning it, then everyone else will question it and then means it will draw a little bit more attention to myself as a big guy. So, I just kept it going. I kept it because as a big guy, I have to do different things to be that type of player. Wide receivers and running backs catch balls and make plays...but for a lineman you have to move different [to define your personality].
2. What are your favorite professional sports teams?
The crazy thing is, I didn’t really watch football [growing up]. I was always outside longboarding [and] on dirt bikes and quads.
3. What about basketball and baseball?
No [I didn’t have favorite teams]. I really didn’t watch sports, but I was a player fan. I was a big Carmelo Anthony fan. I was a Jason Kidd fan [and] Allen Iverson.
4. When did you start playing football?
I played flag [football]. Then I played the first year of pads, which I guess was pee wee, and then as I got older I was bigger, so I couldn’t play... because I was too big...So, I had to wait until high school because my middle school didn’t have a football team… I missed three years of football, maybe four, when I was growing up.
The making of Buffalo Bills: Embedded, presented by Pepsi
Camera crews followed Bills players, coaches and staff as the team prepares for the 2018 season. Take a look at photos from the making of the new series, Buffalo Bills: Embedded, presented by Pepsi. The show begins on Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. on Facebook Watch.
5. What was your pee wee team’s name?
The Rahway Chiefs.
6. Were you worried about taking the time off?
So, the cool thing is, that’s when kids played outside, so I still got to run around and play.
7. At what point did you start playing on the O-line and did you play any other positions growing up?
In high school I was a defensive tackle [and] I actually went to an all-star game for D-tackle. Once I got to college, they said that I would be a better O-lineman, so I switched over and ever since then I played right guard, then right tackle, then left tackle.
8. How did you determine which college you would go to?
I really only had one choice and that was Temple. That was my only option and my only shot, so I took it and ran with it.
9. What is the toughest part about transitioning from playing college football to the NFL?
Game speed. The NFL is just way faster.
10. Who are your best friends on the team?
I have a bunch of friends, but I would say here definitely [Jordan] Mills, two-five [LeSean McCoy], Taiwan [Jones] and [Nathan] Peterman.
11. Who are your best friends around the league?
The Pouncey twins.
12. What do you do in your spare time in Buffalo?
I longboard and I play video games.
13. What do you do when you play Madden NFL?
Do I play against my teammates? Yes. Do I play with my teammates? Yes. Do I try to play with the Bills as much as I can? Yes.
14. What does a typical day look like for you?
I listen to music all the time. I have a playlist on my phone of all old music like The Five Heartbeats, Jahmene, Aaliyah, Alicia Keys – all those old school R&B singers. I listen to it every night as I’m sleeping and listen to it when I wake up.
15. What’s the reason for that specific playlist?
That music brings me closer to myself. Even before games, I’ll listen to slow music because it brings me closer to [the reason] why I’m out here [playing football]. It always makes me think about my mother, my father, and my nephew, my sister, my family and my brother. It brings me home.
16. Do you have a pregame ritual?
No. It’s different every week. Just the playlist.
17. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about sports?
The crazy thing is, I always heard that I can go as far as I want to and still here [with the Bills] they’re saying the same things. I’m like, ‘Is this real?’ I’m in the NFL and they’re saying that you can be this and you can be that. I have the opportunity and the ability to be whatever I want to be – I could be a Pro Bowler, I could be an All-Pro, I could be a Hall of Fame player – if I just put my mind to it because I have the ability to, which I’m blessed of. That’s really one of the things that I take personal because if they’re saying it, then [they] must really mean it because I’ve been hearing it my entire life.
18. Do you have a motto that you live by? Or anything that defines you?
I like to treat people well. I personally think that everything eventually comes back to you. I just try to treat people with as much respect as possible. Even people that most people wouldn’t think I would go up and talk to, I always do...I just love to put a smile on peoples’ faces. I’m going to do it for as long as I can.
19. Do you get excited when people recognize you?
I love it. The other day I was at the fair and I was in shock of how many people knew who I was and they [were saying], ‘Shnowman, Dawkins, Dawk, Dion’ and I’m just like, ‘Wow this is a lot of people’ and I am with running backs! And they’re coming up to me and I’m [thinking], maybe I’m doing something right and this is pretty cool. Whatever I’m doing, I’m going to keep doing it so…I can continue to be a role model for whoever is watching.
20. Are the fans one of your favorite things about playing in Buffalo?
The fans are real, yeah of course. In college, Temple wasn’t like an Alabama or a LSU or Clemson, so we didn’t really have [fans saying] ‘Oh that’s Dion Dawkins.’ It was just like, ‘Oh he’s a football player.’ But now, it’s like I’m somebody so it feels good.