Here's the Bills news of note for March 21st.
**1 - Tate feels great to be back with Bills
**For Brandon Tate free agency was a longer and more drawn out process than he had hoped. The ace return man confessed that it was nerve wracking for him, but after finalizing that process Monday and re-signing with the Bills he couldn't be happier.
"Oh man it is a blessing to be where I am at," said Tate. "Just hard work, dedication and one day at a time. Tradition man I am going to try get a couple touchdowns out there for the Bills fans and give them something to cheer about."
Tate put together a solid return season for Buffalo in 2016 ranking fifth in the league in punt return average (11.6) and seventh in kick return average (22.8).
Having the opportunity to work with special teams coordinator Danny Crossman again was a big plus for him.
"It was a strong point of my decision making because with him, I felt like he gave me a chance to be myself, and I liked him as a coach," said Tate of Crossman. "I like the whole organization Doug Whaley, Coach (Sean) McDermott man. I am just excited to be back and I appreciate them having me back as well."
RELATED: BILLS KEEP RETURN MAN TATE
2 - Holmes explains NFLPA mishapIt certainly was a weird development last week when a contract offer by the Bills to free agent WR Andre Holmes was reported as a done deal between the two parties. Holmes and the Bills both refuted that any deal had been consummated between them. Though Holmes did finally agree to terms on a contract with Buffalo he felt the need to explain what happened in a conference call with Western New York media.
"I know my agent was kind of discussing some terms with the Bills personnel, nothing finalized or anything just kind of negotiating," Holmes said. "The way it works is the agent is supposed to send any type of proposal to the NFLPA and somehow, somewhere in there I don't know exactly how it came out someone thought that I had signed.
"Whether it was paper work or mishandled paperwork I am not really sure. I just leave kind of to the NFLPA as far as what exactly happened. As far as my side I just saw that there was a report that I had signed and I just wanted to put out there nothing had happened yet because you know my phone was ringing and all that kind of stuff and so I just kind of put that out there. Basically that is all I know."
For Holmes the more important issue now is earning a prominent role in Buffalo's receiving corps, an opportunity that prompted him to finalize a contract with the Bills in the first place.
"It was a great opportunity to come to Buffalo and compete, the opportunity to compete to make a big impact on a team that is definitely on its way up," he said. "Especially with the new coaching staff and everything and then also the security of having a long a term deal, helps out with that too. That is kind of where my mindset was at as far as agreeing to terms with Buffalo.
"I feel like I am very interchangeable and I have an all-around game, like a good blocker as a receiver and a red zone threat. I feel like I can play all around the field. I really learned to play the slot these past two years backing up all three positions."
3 - Coach and scheme familiarity the key for CB JohnsonFree agents assess a host of different factors when it comes to mapping out their future playing career. For CB Leonard Johnson there were two particularly attractive factors with the Bills, head coach Sean McDermott and his defensive scheme.
Johnson played in that scheme under McDermott as a reserve cornerback appearing in 10 games. Wanting to advance his game a step further, Johnson believes playing in the same system under the same coach will help promote those personal goals.
"I think having Coach McDermott being named the head coach over in Buffalo made the transition – it made the decision a little easier," said Johnson, who admitted he considered a couple of other teams in addition to the Bills. "I wanted to play in that same system and kind of master the technique, from a nickel standpoint, within the scheme to kind of put me at an advantage as opposed to going to a different team, running a whole different scheme."
Johnson played his first three seasons in the league for Tampa Bay, before spending another season in New England and then Carolina last year. Though he's changing teams again, keeping the scheme and coach consistent was most important to him.
"It was almost like Coach got the head coaching job – if Buffalo works out for me, I'm going to go play for them," Johnson said. "I know that two years in the same system, not only can I help the team win, but I'll be able to do some nice things for myself as well."