If an NFL prospect is drafted third overall the typical reaction is full-blown elation. Bills top draft choice Marcell Dareus, taken third overall, was certainly excited about going so high in the 2011 NFL draft. The only problem was he felt he should've gone higher. That's why moments after being selected by Buffalo he shook NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's hand upon taking the NFL draft stage and said the following words in the commissioner's ear.
"I'm going to make the Panthers and them suffer."
The 'them' Dareus was referring to were the Denver Broncos, the other NFL club that passed on him at the top of the 2011 draft board, choosing instead to take Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller. The Panthers obviously took Cam Newton. Goodell threw his head back and laughed after hearing the comment. Dareus later made those same comments public when asked about them in an NFL Network interview a couple of weeks after the draft.
"If I ever get a chance to play Carolina I'm going to make them pay for passing up on me," said Dareus. "Denver I'll get a chance to play them in the regular season and I'm going to make it hell for them every time I play against them."
With that opportunity now a couple of days away Dareus hasn't changed his tune.
"You always need a little fuel so that was one that helped start the fire," he said. "I'm just going to feed off it and go out there and try to do the best I can to make that happen. I told them they're going to pay every time I play them so that's my goal to go out there and do that."
Dareus is also looking forward to facing a familiar nemesis from his college days in the SEC in Denver quarterback Tim Tebow.
"I enjoy beating Tim Tebow," he said smiling in reference to Alabama's win over Florida in the 2009 SEC Championship game. "He's a good dude and everything, but it's always good to knock somebody off the throne. The Patriots beat him last week. It's time for us to come back out and end our season on a good note at least. For us to get a win will be good for the team and the city of Buffalo."
The Bills defensive lineman is well aware that Tebow is the league's leading rusher at the quarterback position this season, but he's confident he and his defensive teammates will be able to keep the Denver signal caller under wraps.
"I've hit the guy before," Dareus said. "He wasn't too crazy (laughing). If we rally around the ball it won't be that hard to get him on the ground."
Dareus likely won't be entering Saturday's game 100 percent as he's been dealing with a nagging hand injury since the middle of the season. He assured that he will play this weekend, but isn't certain what kind of personal performance would satisfy his desire to make Denver pay for passing on him in the draft.
"We'll really have to wait until the end of the game to answer that one," he said. "I can't tell the future. A win would be (darn) nice. That would be ideal."