Good memories from 2020 will be hard to come by.
Unless your name is Reid Ferguson.
The Bills long snapper has plenty already. It starts with a trip that was “definitely on the bucket list, for sure,” Ferguson said.
In March, he took a journey to the Holy Land in Israel. It’s something he started planning with the Bills team chaplain two years ago.
“It was a life changing trip for me,” Ferguson said. “We were really excited to venture out of our comfort zone a little bit.”
No daylight was wasted during the eight day trip. The group was out at 7am and did not return until 6pm. The entire day was walking and hiking with breaks for Bible study. Former Bills teammate Wyatt Teller also made the trek.
Ferguson was surprised by how many of the sites were close together and that some places haven’t changed all that much. Even though he acknowledged how cliche it might sound, Ferguson said it’s something you have to see in person to understand. He called the experience “life changing”.
“We stood in the Jordan River. We climbed and hiked up the mountain where Jesus chose his 12 disciples,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson is one of five or six Bills players who are faith based leaders. There are bible discussions and weekly services, but a major purpose of the group is promote team bonding. It’s the same as card nights or video games.
“To do something and connect on a deeper level like that, I think is super important for growing a team,” Ferguson said. “I think it kinda feeds into the culture that Coach (Sean) McDermott’s been building here.”
A month after his return, Ferguson got to see his brother Blake drafted by the Dolphins. It’s something else Reid spent years planning, using his own road to the NFL as a model for Blake.
After Reid latched on in Buffalo, he and his father sat down and wrote out a plan for Blake. A workout regimen was the priority, but it also included plenty of time to practice traits NFL teams require in a long snapper. Blocking rules are different in the pros, so that was also a focus.
“I think that really helped him because I did that… my junior, senior year. (But) he was working on it all throughout his college career,” Ferguson said. “He put in the work and to see it come full circle and come to fruition was really great.”
The help continues now that Blake is beginning his pro career, though the role is less road map and more guide. It’s not about hiding tricks of the trade from a division rival. Reid believes there are parts of the NFL that Blake has to grasp on his own and it will benefit him more long term than if Reid laid everything out.
“I want to give him as much as he needs to be successful, but I also want him to learn just like he did in college,” Ferguson said. “You don’t need to baby anybody (at this level). We’re all grown ups. We can all formulate our own routine.”
That wasn’t the end of Ferguson’s amazing offseason. He and his fiance Erica were one of the many couples that made a Covid wedding work.
“We kinda had to call an audible,” Ferguson said. “We got married at the beach over the summer, which was awesome. We had our parents and some siblings there. We made the best of it.”
They are hoping to have a full ceremony sometime during the next offseason. Still, it’s a darn good offseason for one of the Bills’ good guys.
“Just really counting the blessings and being super appreciative of the experiences that I’ve been able to have,” Ferguson said.
Even during 2020.