From the moment Bills fans took their seats to watch the first day of practice, it was obvious who they were there to see: Sammy Watkins.
Chants, banners and T-shirts were aplenty as the rookie wide receiver, taken fourth overall in this year's draft, took to the field with the rest of his team and started going through the paces. One would think this kind of attention would throw the 21-year old Floridian off, but for Watkins that wasn't the case.
"With our offense, we've got a lot of explosive guys so, for me, it's just about coming in right away and trying to make plays," said Watkins after his first official practice. "Don't try and be Superman, but play my role and everything will work out."
But if one were to hear the crowd when Watkins caught a pass, it would seem as if Superman himself had flown into Bills camp and effortlessly caught the ball. The player catching the ball was Watkins, however, and the gush from the fans was readily accepted.
"It means a lot," said Watkins of the fan support. "That's what moved me and it's great to hear the fans calling my name out and being active while we're practicing."
Watkins has left an impression on his fellow teammates as well stretching all the way back to OTAs and minicamp.
"It felt good," said Manuel when asked how it felt throwing to Watkins. "You really just want to get it in a spot for him to catch it and get some yards after the catch. That's the biggest thing about a receiver like Sammy."
Watkins still feels he needs some work before he can get to the heroic level Bills fans have pegged for him. He believes more repetitions in practice is the way to get there.
"For the most part, we connected when we needed to," said Watkins. "We still have a lot of things to fix but we were clicking (Sunday)."
Even before the team's first practice and the cheers of fandom that came with it, Watkins was impressing his fellow wide receivers with his performance during OTAs and team minicamp.
"He's good," said WR Mike Williams, a five year NFL veteran. "He's a guy who can run routes. He's big and can go up and get the ball. It's just about learning for him right now. Once he learns the little things like getting in spaces and settling down in zones and knows that on this field everybody has talent … once he realizes that, I think the sky is the limit."
In total, Watkins' first day of practice went off without a hitch. He arrived ready to perform at a high level. He showed flashes that he could be a saving grace for the Bills passing game, but only time will tell.
Perhaps most encouraging is despite all the lofty expectations Watkins is calm, cool and collected. If there is any pressure to perform, Watkins isn't feeling it.
"We've got a great team and I've got a great wide receiver corps helping me out," said Watkins. "A great quarterback, so there's not really any pressure. I just have to come out here and have fun and keep doing what I've been doing: perfecting my craft."