When the Bills signed offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle last March, his wife Shelby quickly made friends in Buffalo via Twitter.
“I said something about ranch and they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s a no here,’ said Shelby. “I’m like ‘What do you mean that’s a no here? Ranch is my life.'”
Fitting that a chicken wing controversy would go viral in Western New York.
“I gained probably 4,000 followers over a few weeks,” said Shelby.
Her frequent tweets are brash, opinionated, and from the heart.
“It’s going to be the truth,” said Shelby. “It’s going to come from a good place.”
Shelby Waddle is not afraid to take up for her new team. When it seemed Tennessee Titans fans cheated to win an online poll against the Bills, she helped spearhead revenge: A five figure donation to the Nashville Children’s Alliance.
“At that point, she had learned about the whole Bills Mafia DNA,” said Bills Mafia co-founder Del Reid. “We are known for a lot of crazy antics and everything, but really our calling card is helping out different charitable needs and she became very in-tuned with that early on.”
The charity was no accidental choice. Shelby Waddle was sexually abused as a child, and LaAdrian grew up poor. Following the success with Nashville, the Waddles decided to start their own foundation: Waddle’s Warriors, to help underprivileged and abused children along with veterans and first responders.
“We want to be the organization that we wish we had to help us in those times,” said Shelby. “Now that I’ve had a taste of it, I’m full-fledged addicted to it.”
We interviewed Shelby on Sunday, an hour before LaAdrian suffered a season-ending injury. I wondered why the Waddles would dive headfirst into a community with a job that could end at any minute. Shelby says her answer then still stands today.
“God has a plan. If we are going to do these things, we have to do them without fear,” she said. “We have to do them and we have to walk in faith. We will absolutely do the things that we are doing, we are not going to live in fear and we are going to completely keep doing what we are doing. If it happens, it happens. We adjust and we move on.”
That means still doing good and still making friends.