Throughout training camp and preseason, Bills tight ends Quintin Morris and Tommy Sweeney knew they would have to go above and beyond expectations to prove why they deserved a spot on the team's roster. Tuesday was a gratifying day for both as they were each on the Bills' initial 53-man roster.
The process of securing a roster spot started last season for Morris, who was a member of the practice squad during his rookie year. After the undrafted free agent got a taste of what it felt like to be on the Bills' roster for one game last year, he was ready to do whatever it took to get back there again this season.
"Really just attacking the offseason, coming in and trying to make sure I take advantage of my opportunities, and do whatever I can to help the team," Morris said. "And along the way, hopefully do enough to prove that I deserve it."
Morris used the offseason to work on reaching a new level of his game in hopes of being one of the 53 names on the roster for the 2022 season. One of the key aspects of his game that he focused on improving during the offseason was his blocking.
"Just showing that I could be a complete tight end and not just go out there, knowing I have a receiver background and being able to run routes, but going out there and be able to take care of the physical piece of it," Morris said. "Put two and two together to be a complete tight end."
With time ticking down to further prove himself, Morris woke up Tuesday morning and he felt like his stomach was on the ground with the uncertainty surrounding the final roster cuts. When he arrived to Highmark Stadium for practice, he sat in the parking lot and took a few deep breaths before walking through the doors where he would soon figure out what his future looked like.
"There's always staff waiting there to tell guys whatever the news is, and I walked by, was going to treatment and nobody stopped me, so I said I guess that's a good sign," Morris said. "I'm still waiting until 4:00 because you just never know. With me, I never feel like I made it because every day I feel like it's something you got to prove."
Morris said he knows he has to come in every day and work to stay because nothing is promised. One quote that Morris has relied on this preseason is, "Nobody has to see your vision but you" — a message to push himself to put his best foot forward.
"That's me telling myself, 'You have to believe in yourself, control what you can control, and let the rest take care of itself,'" Morris shared.
Morris credits the entire tight end room for helping him keep his head straight throughout his NFL journey and for reminding him that being on the practice squad last year wasn't the end of the road. As he transitions into this new stage of playing multiple positions, Sweeney is one of his teammates who continues to feed him information to help his game grow, and this isn't the first time Morris has turned to him for advice.
"Tommy actually came and spoke to me when I went to Bowling Green," Morris said. "He talked to the team for a little bit and little did I know, a year later we'd be sitting in the same locker room."
Sweeney, who's entering his third season with the Bills, had a similar mindset as Morris. His goal was to show up every day of camp and give it his all every time he stepped on the field to put him in the best position possible when it came time for general manager Brandon Beane to make roster decisions.
"You just hope that the last couple weeks, you've put your best stuff out there, and hopefully that lets you sleep at night, regardless of win or lose, figuratively," Sweeney said. "It's stressful, but at the end of the day, it's kind of out of your hands."
With the intense competition throughout the tight end room, Sweeney acknowledged that everybody was bringing their best efforts to training camp and he felt that his camp went well. But even though this time of year can be stressful with roster cuts happening, the tight end is happy to be in the position he's in after a foot injury and myocarditis kept him out of the 2020 season.
"There was some doubt, just naturally with everything that happened, but everybody here was great," Sweeney said. "They gave me the mindset of working on those little things, so when I did come back, it would be in a position like this."
Fullback Reggie Gilliam feels that the offense is in a good place right now after he's seen how hard Sweeney and the other tight ends have worked since training camp started.
"The tight ends are a big part of the offense," Gilliam said. "I know Tommy's going to bring some things to help us and I'm excited."