ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — Buffalo Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney’s 2020 was the hardest season of his career, personally and professionally.

The tight end suffered a foot injury in July, and he was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list ahead of his highly anticipated second season. Sweeney was infected with COVID-19 in October, and was later diagnosed with myocarditis, a heart inflammation.

Sweeney was afraid his football career might come to a premature end, but relied on doctors’ knowledge and his teammates’ support to get through everything both physically and emotionally.

“I worked with everybody here for the mental side of things for a lot of other stuff to try and stay on top of it, just keep the nose down, and trust in God to come back stronger than before,” said Sweeney. “It’s a long time, three months, but I learned a lot, again about myself and to keep fighting.”

Though he did have to sit out of the 2020 season, Sweeney did whatever he could to stay positive. He feels “pretty good now,” a credit to his constant optimism.

“You’ve been playing football since I was seven years old and all the other sports, try to put a silver lining on it, take a little time off and let the rest of the body heal,” said Sweeney. “At least that’s what I told myself mentally, so it felt good coming back. It was definitely a year you’ll never get back, but I think for the most part I didn’t lose too much athletically or football-wise.”

The Bills three preseason games will be huge for Sweeney, who will likely see his first playing time since December 2019.

As the Bills prepare for their first preseason contest in Detroit on Friday, head coach Sean McDermott has been pleased with his performance and the strides he’s made since receiving medical clearance to play.

“He’s off to a great start,” McDermott said. “He’s in a good spot. He’s worked his tail off. He’s been here most of the offseason and in doing so, invested in his career. Tommy’s a high-energy, bright-eyed young man that’s got a bright future ahead of him. It’s good to have him back and healthy again.”