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'Best feeling in the world' | Keon Coleman and the rookies take on Bills rookie minicamp

Keon Coleman (0). Buffalo Bills Rookie Minicamp May 10, 2024 at 1 Bills Drive.
Keon Coleman (0). Buffalo Bills Rookie Minicamp May 10, 2024 at 1 Bills Drive.

After months of training for the NFL Scouting Combine, months of interviews and the anticipation of the NFL Draft, the rookies finally got to hit the field for the start of rookie minicamp on Friday afternoon.

Buffalo has their 10 draft picks, 12 undrafted free agents and 26 tryout players participating in this weekend's rookie minicamp. Wide receiver Keon Coleman, Buffalo's second-round draft pick out of Florida State, is ecstatic about getting to focus on football from here on out.

"That's probably the best feeling in the world," Coleman said after practice. "All the other stuff, that's cool and all, but the main thing is the main thing. I'm trying to get better on the football field, learn the playbook and impact the team and try to help (the team) win. That's really what I'm focused on, what I really care about, so it's great finally getting back to it."

Coleman wasn't the only rookie feeling that way. Defensive end Javon Solomon, one of Buffalo's fifth-round picks out of Troy, is also happy that the pre-draft process is behind him.

"This was the moment I was waiting on," Solomon said about taking the field on Friday. "God truly blessed me…all the combine stuff, all the interview prep, all that is behind me now. At the end of the day, I'm Javon Solomon the football player. So, I'm glad to be out here doing what I do, doing what I love."

Coleman, who scored 11 touchdowns last season, said it all really became real once he put his helmet on before practice.

"Just a bunch of jitters," Coleman shared. "I called my brother. It's exciting. The moment gets downplayed because the process is so long, but I think once I grabbed the helmet and put it on, it kind of shook me back to real life, like this is reality now."

Buffalo's draft picks weren't the only ones doing what they love on Friday afternoon. Former Southern Miss running back Frank Gore Jr. is one of Buffalo's undrafted free agents and is ready to prove his worth after not being drafted. The son of former Buffalo Bill Frank Gore Sr. didn't want to end up anywhere else.

"It was so relieving," Gore Jr. said of finding out he would be in Buffalo. "Knowing that my dad wanted me here, I wanted to be here. When me and coach Skip (running backs coach) met over the process, I just got the vibe that he's the type of coach that I need to get better and the type of coach that I want to become the best player I could possibly be."

Gore Sr. played for the Bills in 2019 and totaled 599 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in 16 games. The 16,000-yard rusher wanted his son in Buffalo because of his good experience and trust in the coaching staff.

Gore Jr. racked up 4,022 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns over his collegiate career. The RB is feeling blessed to wear the Gore name across his back in the NFL.

"The steps that he took to help me be here today," Gore Jr. said of everything his father did to prepare him for this moment. "I'll say it calmed me down because I know that I can always look forward to someone who did everything that I want to do in life."

As the rookies dive into minicamp, they will begin to learn the ins and outs of their new playbooks. Coleman said Buffalo's playbook is much different than his college one but so far, the process has been smooth.

"Coach Henry has been helping me a lot," Coleman said of his new wide receivers coach. "We've been Zooming the past week or so and just breaking it down into pieces, understanding the terminology and within each play what they're trying to get done with the read. That makes it very, very simple because there are so many concepts you can run. It's just the terminology.

"Once you get that down, then there is going to be a lot that you'll be able to adjust."

Buffalo's other second-round draft pick in safety Cole Bishop is also trying to get over the learning curve of picking up a new defensive system.

"We didn't run a lot of quarters, which Buffalo does a good bit of a lot two high stuff," Bishop explained. "So kind of starting from scratch but just getting smarter in the game of football."

The former Utah safety who had 7.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in college is looking forward to learning from former Bills safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer by watching their tape.

"I'm excited for once I have a little bit more of the playbook down to be able to actually study these guys and their techniques," Bishop said. "(Learn) how they did things and how they move in practice and everything, too. But right now, I'm more systematically trying to learn all that."

On top of learning a new playbook, the rookies are also taking the time to form bonds with their new teammates and coaches. Coleman feels like he and offensive coordinator Joe Brady's relationship is off to a great start because of their Louisiana ties. The WR is from Opelousas, LA and Brady coached in New Orleans for the Saints and LSU from 2017-2019.

"I think he's probably the best in the league at what he does," Coleman said of Brady. "He loves ball, I love ball and we understand each other. He was down in Louisiana for a stint, and it's nothing better than a Boot boy. We've just got a great relationship and just being able to be that close with my offensive coordinator, it means a lot to me."

Coleman said his goal for the weekend is to soak it all up.

"Just learn as much as I can within the playbook," Coleman shared. "Get to know the guys that are here and enjoy this brotherhood that we got as rookies, UDFA guys, guys just trying out and stuff like that. Just get as close to those guys, enjoy this process as a rookie and just learn and soak in as much as I can."

View the best photos from the 2024 Buffalo Bills Rookie Minicamp at 1 Bills Drive!

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