Buffalo Bills: Leodis McKelvin Defends His Corner On and Off the Field


Buffalo Bills: Leodis McKelvin Defends His Corner On and Off the Field

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Leodis McKelvin has had to fight for everything, ever since joining the Buffalo Bills in 2008. This season will be no different for the 2008 11th overall draft pick.

Just last year, McKelvin saw his campaign cut short after a season-ending ankle fracture. Ironically, he had a career-high four interceptions, despite playing in just 10 games – the second fewest of his professional career.

Now, the Waycross, Georgia native will enter training camp looking to bounce back and reclaim his starting spot at cornerback. He is expected to face a challenge from this year’s second round draft pick, Ronald Darby.

However, McKelvin isn’t surprised, and in many respects wouldn’t have it any other way. As he told Sal Capaccio of wgr550.com: “Since when don’t they select a cornerback?

“They did plenty of year’s when I’ve been here.  When Stephon (Gilmore) came here they did it.  When Aaron (Williams) came here.”

Sep 28, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin (21) before a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

To his credit, McKelvin has a healthy attitude to the competition: “It really doesn’t matter, you know, as long as those guys come in and help contribute to what we’ve got going on and getting to the playoffs.  That’s all I really care about.”

In respect of any concerns about his ankle, the 2008 PFWA NFL All-Rookie Team selection does his best to reassure people: “It is not my first rodeo of me breaking my ankle. This is my third time.

“I did it back in college and then my second year in the league. It is just a routine for me getting back stronger.”

It’s fair to say McKelvin is confident of a full recovery: “My speed is not going to go anywhere. I am naturally fast. I have a God-given talent to run fast, so I will be able to come back to my ability.”

The 29-year old has endured all sorts of adversity during his time in Western New York. Perhaps the biggest example of this came during the Bills opening game of the 2009 campaign, against the New England Patriots.

With just 2:06 remaining, McKelvin caught a kickoff in the endzone and decided to return it, resulting in a fumble – his second of the night. The Patriots went on to drive 31 yards for the winning touchdown.

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Afterwards, two teenagers vandalized McKelvin’s home, spray-painting obscenities and the phrase “take a knee”. For his part, the 2007 First-Team All-American decided not to press charges.

McKelvin is expected to thrive in the defense new head coach Rex Ryan will install this season. Two years ago, he played extremely well in a similar scheme.

Certainly, the seven-year veteran has at least one fan – secondary coach Donnie Henderson. In an interview with Capaccio, Henderson said: “When I first got here with Leodis, everybody talked about he was going to be a disappointment, a bust.

“Well, that wasn’t the truth.  The thing about what happened to him was he never played the ball down the field.  He was right there in position.”

Henderson went on to say: “You can go back and look at the tapes, he was right there.  So what did we do?  We taught him how to play the ball down the field.”

McKelvin is projected to reclaim his starting spot, and he fully expects to pick up where he left off in 2014. As he told Capaccio: “I feel like I can come back and put those back-to-back seasons from when I was working with Mike Pettine in a defense similar to this defense right now.

“That year I did pretty good as far as completions coming my way. I told myself the next year I was going to start working on getting more interceptions.  So if I put those two seasons together, the sky is the limit.”

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