ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — Jake Kumerow has the perfect story for the Sean McDermott Bills. A third-generation NFL player, his father Eric is a former Dolphins first-round pick.
“My dad coaching me growing up, he never put too much pressure on me,” said Kumerow. “He always kept it cool and told me if this is what you like you can go ahead and do it, if you don’t we’ll figure something else out. He never pushed me too hard. I just always wanted to be like him and do what he did.”
The family tree of football has plenty more branches. Kumerow’s grandfather and great uncle both played in the NFL as do his cousins. You probably know them: Nick and Joey Bosa.
Kumerow lived near the Bosa’s in Florida until about age 12 and they are still close. He trains with them often in the offseason.
The most notable member of the family may be with the one that has nothing to do with football. Kumerow’s great-grandfather was Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo. He rose through the ranks of the Outfit becoming its final authority in 1972. Despite a crime career that spanned eight decades, Accardo did not spend a single night in jail. He passed three months after Kumerow was born.
After a short lived preferred walk on stint at Illinois, Kumerow tranferred to Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater. He liked the idea of joining older sister Cortney, who was a star on the basketball team.
Kumerow was a monster in his final two seasons with over 2400 yards receiving and 33 touchdowns. He helped lead the Warhawks to consecutive national finals. That was enough to land him an undrafted spot with the Bengals.
“Everyone starts on the same slate,” said Kumerow. “It doesn’t matter what school you went to or how many touchdowns you had in college. Because that was last year and no one cares about last year.”
It took four years and three teams before Kumerow finally made his NFL debut with the Packers. You’ve probably heard about how his tenure there ended. Last September, Aaron Rodgers publicly called Kumerow reliable, heady, fantastic, and a guy you’d love to have. Just a few hours later, the Packers cut him.
“You think that you’re doing good and you think that you’re checking the boxes but sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes you’ve got to go above and beyond,” said Kumerow. “I thought I had a solid camp but things happen, coaches make moves, so I make moves.”
Kumerow of course gets some jokes about being the apple of Rodgers’ eye, but he just brushes them off with a smile.
“I just laugh it off and say sure thing,” said Kumerow. “I had a good time in Green Bay, I appreciate the organization for having me there, and appreciate [Rodgers] for always looking out for me. The rest of the guys, I miss them, it was a lot of fun. But once you come to a new team you’ve got a whole bunch of new faces, a whole bunch of new friends to make. That stuff goes out the window quick because guys move on and the game moves on.
He played in six games for the Bills last year and had one reception, a touchdown against the Broncos. That quick trip was enough to convince Kumerow a return this season was what he called a no-brainer.
“He was missed, just in the locker room, the vibe of the team,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “There’s a lot of glue on this team that flies under the radar, guys that connect the team, guys that make us who we are and I feel like Kumerow is a big part of that.”
Kumerow has had a strong training camp so far and is making an impact with the reps he’s been given. Only time will tell if that will convert into a roster spot this time around.