Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane had his eyes on newly acquired Nyheim Hines when the trade deadline rolled around, but the running back was on Beane's radar even before that. Beane shared that Hines was a guy the Bills scouting staff liked through the draft process back in 2018 and they've even checked in on him a few times since — training camp in 2020 and again last offseason.
After seeing him up close a few times and noticing the potential he had after making big plays in the 2020 NFL Wild Card game between the Colts and Bills, Beane felt it made too much sense to add a guy with Hines' ability to the Bills roster.
"He's more of a guy that's just a weapon with the ball in his hands, whether it's a punt returner, kick returner, as a receiver," Beane said. "He runs jet sweep, he runs the Wildcat so we just felt this was a chance to add another guy that Ken Dorsey and Josh and the crew can use just as another offensive piece."
As Hines starts to learn the offense, Beane sees the possible RB packages the coaching staff can put together between Devin Singletary, James Cook, and now Hines when the opportunity presents itself to have two running backs in the game at the same time. The GM feels that the addition to the RB room shouldn't affect Cook's role on the team but in turn, could help Cook and fellow rookie WR Khalil Shakir from being too overloaded in their first year in the NFL.
"I think it just gives us the opportunity to be more versatile, multiple, variations of the different personnel packages that coach Dorsey can put out there," Beane said.
Back when he was at NC State, Hines was a kick returner, receiver, running back, and punt returner – another area where Beane feels Hines can be an asset to this team in the absence of WR Jamison Crowder who is on IR with an ankle injury.
"When he's in the huddle, the defense knows he's in the game, but they don't know exactly where he's going to line up," Beane said. "This just gives us a guy who's proven, who can add in, and we'll see. But if we needed him to go play slot receiver for a game, once he picks up the offense, he's got that skill set."
Regardless of what his role on the team will be, Hines is just excited for the new opportunity and new beginnings with his the Bills — one that's he's trying to help win championships with.
"I'm thankful for any opportunity, but I'm super excited when the team that's trading for you is 6-1, has a great quarterback and a high-powered offense," Hines said. "That's my goal to come out here, work my butt off, fit in. I think I'm doing a great job so far, and I know I can be a great culture guy for that locker room, that's what I plan on growing into being."
Hines has seen the Bills' high-powered offense when he was with the Colts, but he got a taste of being on their side during his first practice as a Bill on Wednesday. The RB wasted no time trying to grasp the Bills playbook by talking with RB Coach Kelly Skipper on the sidelines and watching his new teammates.
"Hopefully I can get in the rotation, get in the mix, and touch the ball a little bit," Hines said. "But like I said, my goal is to come here and help this team win the championship and do that in any way possible even if that's not touching the ball at all."
Speed and versatility are two areas of the game Hines looks to bring to the roster, and QB Josh Allen already noticed his speed during Wednesday's practice. But that speed didn't come as a surprise to Allen.
"One play, me and Stef looked at each other and I was like, holy crap this guy's fast," Allen said.
"We played against him a couple of times and he always shows up in those games," Allen added. "He's always got one or two plays that help change the course of the game. But again, just adds another element to our offense, and we're excited to have him.
Allen and Hines came into the league in the same draft class in 2018, but Hines is grateful to no longer call the QB an opponent but now his teammate.
"I can go from hating him (Allen) to loving him because there's been times where we were up a couple of times in the playoffs and he makes a play and you're like 'God I hate that guy but he's so good,'" Hines said. "Now I can say 'God, I love that guy and he's so good.'"
With a lot still up in the air, Hines is comfortable in multiple offensive positions and will do whatever is asked of him. And while Hines's first start with the Bills is also yet to be determined, he said he'll be ready to go whenever his number is called.
"I believe it's a perfect fit," Hines said. "A quarterback who can run and gun, he makes plays when plays break down. I even like the run scheme, so they run their running backs inside, and outside. I thought it was a perfect fit so I gotta make it fit now."
New running back Nyheim Hines along with Dean Marlowe hit the practice field for the first time as Bills in 2022. Check on the best practice photos from Wednesday. This gallery is sponsored by On Location.