They were brought to One Bills Drive in cars and in some cases snowmobiles Friday for a bus departure to the Buffalo airport. The Bills were able to find an opportunity to leave town and the record snowfall that made it impossible for their game to be held at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The team headed to Detroit Friday afternoon to get some of their first work done on the practice field in preparation for the New York Jets on Monday night.
"We worked at it overnight to be in a position where we could get out this afternoon," said team President Russ Brandon at the Buffalo airport shortly before the team's departure. "It's been a full organizational effort. We were just trying to make sure we could get our guys to the facility and over here and try to get on a plan to get some work done in Detroit."
The team arrived in Detroit just before 4:30 pm ET and has an evening practice scheduled at the Detroit Lions practice facility near Dearborn, Michigan. It's just a few miles from the hotel where the team will be spending the next three days.
For the players the preparation has been strictly mental up to this point with the team unable to practice in Buffalo due to the extreme weather.
"It's definitely been different," said Boobie Dixon of not practicing. "That's been awkward. You feel like you're not on a regular routine. You feel like you're not doing something right. You can definitely feel it. But we've been huddling together at each other's crib, close by and been talking and vibing and trying to stay on the same page. We're on a mission and we can't let this snow throw us off."
"It's been tough," said Jerry Hughes. "Eating healthy has probably been the toughest part. You don't want to lose any steps in that because we're not really working out. You really don't want to get too out of shape. The toughest part has been eating healthy and calorie counting."
The team hopes to get two full practices in Friday and Saturday before a shorter session on Sunday in advance of Monday night's game at Ford Field against the Jets.
The short preparation week is something the Bills are used to having done the same thing leading up to their last game, a Thursday night road game at Miami.
"We've kind of been through this cycle coming off a real short week so we've got to have that mindset again," said Hughes. "So we'll just hit the road running real fast."
Many of the players who are not accustomed to the weather were surprised by the severity of the weather and the amount of snowfall.
"Yeah it was very hard to imagine," said Dixon. "I've never seen this growing up in Mississippi and playing in California my first four years. When I opened the front door I almost fell backwards and hit the floor. I was like, 'No, this wasn't in the contract.' But it was cool. I think I handled it well. Me and Seantrel (Henderson) stuck together and helped each other get through it."
"It's been pretty hectic just to see what everyone is going through," said Jerry Hughes of the Western New York community. "The Southtowns got hit pretty hard. It's kind of tough, just to see everything on the news and the highway is shut down, things like that, they have the National Guard out it's just really something you don't think you're going to be a part of. It's kind of cool to see all the snow fall, but you really want to make sure that all the families are safe."
Photos of One Bills Drive and Ralph Wilson Stadium following a record snow storm in Buffalo.