"You've got to hold me," the lanky receiver yelled last Wednesday after a tug of the arm prevented a deep connection with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. "You've got to hold me!"
At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, wide receiver Kevin Elliott is proving to be a difficult matchup at times for defensive backs in practice. Contact is prohibited in OTAs, but the occasional grab of a jersey or arm can work its way into receiver-corner matchups, and Elliott continues to draw his fair share.
Undrafted out of Florida A&M University in 2012, the Orlando native signed a free agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 13 games for the Jaguars, Elliott hauled in 10 catches for 108 yards. On Dec. 9, the then-rookie earned his first start in a Week 14 matchup with the New York Jets, where he had three receptions for 38 yards, including a 22-yarder and a fourth down conversion.
But soon after reaching the highest point of his NFL career, Elliott found himself jobless when the Jaguars released him on Dec. 15. Fortunately his wait was short-lived, as the Bills quickly snatched up the physical receiver on Dec. 18.
Elliott did not find that transition difficult, nor the coaching regime change in Buffalo.
"When I first got here it was a lot more calm of an environment than what I was in at Jacksonville with a lot more togetherness," said Elliott. "And since they've been here the [new] coaches have installed a whole new regiment, a whole new excitement about the game, and it actually makes me want to play for them."
Although he did not see any game time in Buffalo, Elliott was able to take advantage of the practice reps and established a rapport with Tarvaris Jackson.
"We connected a lot during the little bit of time we had," said Elliott. "I believe the more we work the better we're going to get."
Elliott also seems to frequently draw the eye of quarterback Kevin Kolb, as the two hooked up for a red zone touchdown during 11-on-11 last week.
"I mean me and Kevin have the same first name so there might be a little connection there," joked Elliott. "I think we're all starting to get the concepts of the offense down pretty good."
At 6-3, Elliott is hard to miss and plays with a different style than the speedsters the team has stockpiled.
"I'm a very physical receiver that's not really common," said Elliott. "I have a defensive side to me. I like going up and getting the ball and making big plays. And I don't really mind blocking. That's one of the aspects of my game that people don't really know."
The Bills receiving corps underwent some renovations this offseason. With the departures of David Nelson and Donald Jones, Elliott acknowledged he saw an opportunity open up before him, but is still humbled by the shot at an NFL roster.
"Just being on the roster, I look at that as being a good opportunity," explained Elliott. "All of the receivers have been helping me out, and we've been jelling together, especially Stevie (Johnson). He's been coaching me through here and Coach Ike (Hilliard) has been great as well.
Elliott, like many players have previously opined, loves the up-tempo nature of the practices and the offense that the new staff is installing.
"If we're going to do it I know the defense is going to hate it," Elliott said with emphasis on the 'hate'. "We're definitely getting in shape right now and we're looking forward to attacking defenses all year."
Outside of professional football, Elliott is active in youth sports programs back home in Florida. Elliott coaches both football and basketball, and believes giving back to his community is important.
"I've got my fourth annual football camp coming up this summer, and I coach Junior Magic Basketball," said Elliott. "I love it because I grew up in a neighborhood center. I grew up playing all of the sports and being around the older guys I used to look up to. I know how big of an impression it makes on our youth."
For now the young receiver will continue to focus on his playing career and shaking free from the ever-grasping hands of defensive backs.
"You've got to do something," Elliott said with a laugh when asked if holding was the only way to stop him. "That's how I feel right now. It's only going to make me better because they can't hold me in the games."