ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — Jordan Poyer finds himself atop the league in tackles for a safety. He found himself atop the list of safeties in the AFC for most votes by the fans.
He did not find himself on the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed,” he said on Wednesday. “I know what I bring to this team. I know what I bring to the table. Just control what I can control. I can’t control the fact if I made or didn’t make it.”
Poyer leads all safeties in the NFL with 117 total tackles this year. In a stat that is dominated by linebackers, Poyer is the only safety in the top 20 in the league.
“He’s a Pro Bowler in our books,” said cornerback Tre White, who was named to his second career Pro Bowl. “He’s done everything and more that the coaches and we’ve asked of him. He knows that he’s a Pro Bowl-caliber player. He doesn’t need others’ validation of what he’s done to verify who he is. His play speaks for himself.”
“I was very surprised. Jordan’s been having a very big year. He’s one of the leaders on this defense,” said linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who also made the Pro Bowl roster for the second time in his career. “His practice play speaks for itself, his game play speaks for itself. Just a guy out there that gives it all no matter what he’s doing.”
Making the Pro Bowl roster over Poyer in the AFC was Minkah Fitzpatrick of the Steelers, Justin Simmons of the Broncos, and Tyrann Mathieu of the Chiefs. While Poyer and his teammates certainly have a very strong case to be upset, it was also a strong year for the position in the AFC. Although Poyer dominated the group in tackles, he trailed all three in interceptions and passes defended.
Poyer had trouble putting into words what all of the support from his teammates, coaches, and the fans has meant to him.
“Just to see coaches texting me, family and friends texting me. My Twitter, I couldn’t even open Twitter without having a hundred mentions of people who are saying that they believe that I should have made it,” said Poyer. “It was very eye-opening for me to see that and see the respect that I have through the Bills Mafia, through my coaches and teammates. That’s what’s going to continue to drive me to be the person that I am and be the player that I am and continue to work to help this team win a championship. That’s our ultimate goal.”
When reflecting on the disappointment, Poyer told the story of how one of his old high school baseball coaches picked him up after a bad game. That lesson stuck with him ever since.
“I want you to remember this forever, the word W.I.N— what’s important now?” the coach told Poyer. “Control what you can control. You had a bad game, you didn’t reach your goal, you didn’t do this, that, or the other— what’s important now?”
For Poyer and the Bills, what’s important now is trying to bring Buffalo their first Super Bowl.
“We’ve still got everything in front of us and that’s what’s important now,” said Poyer. “It’s not going to change who I am as a person, who I am as a player. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed in the fact that I didn’t make it because I’ve been pretty hard. But at the same time, you can’t control that and I can control what I do from here on out and continue to help this team win football games.”
“We’ve all as athletes had struggles throughout our careers,” Poyer added. “We want to be the best. Sometimes we fall short of our goals. But at the same time, that doesn’t define who you are as a person or as a player. I’m going to continue to work, I’m going to bust my ass and show this world and show this league who I am as a player. That’s just what I’ve got to do.”
Poyer said he’s always had a chip on that shoulder ever since he was drafted in the 7th round after being a consensus All-American in college.
While he won’t be on the Pro Bowl roster this year, he could still find himself on another big stage. The stage in Tampa, lifting the Lombardi Trophy.