It was only seconds after signing his blockbuster contract extension with the Bills last week. Just looking at Marcell Dareus one could see that an anvil had been removed from the Pro Bowl defensive tackle's back. After almost nine months of talking about a giant contract extension, the fact that it was complete for Dareus was a giant relief.
"Huuuge relief," Dareus told Buffalobills.com just minutes after signing off on his multi-year extension. "Oh man I'm just 'Ssssssssss' kind of deflating now. It's crazy man. It's just overwhelming. It's just really overwhelming."
Dareus and the Bills were both committed to continuing their football relationship from the time negotiations opened late last December, but agreeing on everything else in the defensive lineman's contract extension would take time. Bills owner Terry Pegula spoke to Dareus several times personally.
"We talked about a couple of things back around Christmas and it's finally here and now we get to put it all on the field," Dareus said.
Dareus and his employers had a working relationship prior to the Pegulas taking over ownership of the Buffalo Bills last October. Terry and Kim Pegula owned the player representative agency run by Todd France, which represented Dareus. The Pegulas had to divest themselves as owners of the agency under league ownership rules, but it was clear the close relationship still existed between the two parties.
Shortly after signing his lucrative contract extension with Buffalo, the first person Dareus wanted to call was Terry Pegula.
"Terry is just a humble guy," Dareus said. "He's just happy-go-lucky and things just don't bother him at all. He's happy that I'm a part of the team and he knew I wanted to be a part of the team. He was excited like I'm excited."
Even though Dareus left the contract negotiations to his agent, the pending deal did weigh heavily on him. Having to wait through the majority of the offseason was admittedly difficult, but now it's in the rearview mirror.
"That's just something off the board now," Dareus said. "I'm happy just to be done with it and just not think about it anymore. Now it's on to the next (thing). Just kind of stay focused."
Focused is what Dareus figures to be on Sunday against the Patriots after being forced to sit out last Sunday's Week 1 game for a one-game league-imposed suspension. Playing with linemates Jerry Hughes, Kyle Williams and Mario Williams has Dareus anticipating another big season for Buffalo's defense.
"Just being with those guys makes the game a lot easier," said Dareus. "I love being out there with them. We've jelled together. The defense in general we've all kind of got that energy flowing through one another. It really means a lot to finally see the defense coming into its own. It's just a great thing to finally see something that you envisioned from the beginning to take shape. I'm excited about it and to be a part of it and to see it through."
At just 25 years of age Dareus' is seen by many NFL talent evaluators as still on the ascent. The good news for the Bills is he'll be under contract through the prime of his career.
"The sky is the limit," he said of his personal game. "That's just how I look at it and how I view life, anything, the sky has always been the limit. If you shoot for the sky and you get shot down at least you'll land in the clouds."