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Welcome back | Bills players praise fans for bringing energy to training camp

Buffalo Bills Training Camp, Highmark Stadium, July 31, 2021.
 Photo by Sara Schmidle
Buffalo Bills Training Camp, Highmark Stadium, July 31, 2021. Photo by Sara Schmidle

There was an extra jolt of energy during the fourth training camp practice for the Bills.

To finish off the first week of camp, the Bills had their first practice inside Highmark Stadium on Saturday. More than 15,000 fans showed up for the practice and they brought a lot of energy. As the players were walking out of the tunnel at the start of practice, they were met by a standing ovation and screaming fans. 

For some of these young Bills players, this is the first time they have been on the field with fans in the stands. It felt like a true gameday atmosphere, and the energy from the crowd juiced up the players during the practice. Zack Moss played the majority of his rookie season without fans and even for just a practice, Moss was thrilled that Bills Mafia was back. 

"It was cool," Moss stated. "It was great having all the fans definitely back in the stadium because, obviously, last year every game with no fans, up until the playoffs. And then we only had about 6,500 or something like that. So, just having all the fans back in there and just hearing the roar, everyone just being in there and seeing things getting back to normal a little bit, that helps a lot."

This was also the first time that cornerback Dane Jackson was able to experience a part of what Bills Mafia brings to gamedays. He felt that last season without the fans, there was a lack of energy that the players had to make up for and feed off one another. Jackson was surprised just how many fans knew his name and he can't wait to hear Bills fans in full force at the home opener. 

"It's honestly crazy," Jackson said. "Yesterday when they told us there was gonna be 20,000, I'm like, 'For a practice?' It's just crazy. You feel the energy just walking down the tunnel and people screaming my name. I never really had that experience with Bills Mafia and I'm just grateful to be a part of it."

From the fan's perspective, this is the first time since 2019 that there were more than 10,000 fans in the stadium. They were eager to get back in and excited to be around one another again to cheer on their favorite team. After practice, a few fans shared their experience of what the atmosphere was like in the stadium. 

"It was high energy, and the vibes were great," Jamie Fullwell said. "It was so awesome; this was the best way to spend a Saturday morning. I am so ready for the Bills season to start."

"It almost felt like a season opener," Thomas Lodwick stated. "There were a lot more people here than I expected for the first open practice of training camp."

The Bills have two more open practices inside Highmark Stadium scheduled for this summer. The first is The Return of the Blue and Red presented by Bud Light which will take place on Saturday, August 7 at 10:00 am. The second open practice will be on Wednesday, September 1 at 12:00 pm. Tickets for both open practices are complimentary but required. 

For more information on getting tickets, click here.

Take a look at the fans that were in attendance at the first training camp practice in Highmark Stadium.

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