Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus returned to One Bills Drive arriving in time for Thursday's practice after mourning the loss of his younger brother the past few days with his siblings in Alabama. Dareus' younger brother Simeon Gilmore was one of three victims in a shooting this past weekend. The second-year player was grateful for the support he received from his teammates.
"I got back here today and received warm greetings from all the players," said Dareus in a statement. "I got caught up with everything and got acclimated with the game plan. I am focused. I know I have a lot of things going on off the field, but I am here and ready to play."
"I'm sure he is hurting just in the short period of time we had a conversation I could tell he is hurting, but he is being strong," said head coach Chan Gailey. "I thought one of our players stated it very well. He said that there's 60 family members here too, 60 brothers here that care for him and they just want to try to help him get through it."
Dareus considers his Bills teammates his second family, which is why he is trying to split his time evenly between them here in Buffalo and then head back to Alabama to be with his siblings following Sunday's game.
"I plan to work hard here on the field," he said. "But I will continue to keep in contact with my family back home and make sure everyone is ok down there. I am ready to continue to prepare for this week's game with my family here. Then I will go home and be with my family."
"He felt the responsibility to be back here, knowing he had responsibilities there," said Gailey. "I think everybody is going to work to make sure it all goes as smoothly as possible. It can't go smooth, but as smoothly as possible."
Finally Dareus made a point to thank the Bills fans that have offered their condolences and well wishes via social media in the wake of his brother's tragic passing.
"Thank you for all the support," he said. "Right now is a tough time for me and my family. But thank you very much for the support because I truly really need it at this time. I can't express how I am feeling right now, but I will go out on the field and give it my all on Sunday."