Potter hit with first NFL roadblock

Matt DeYoung • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:49 AM

Potter hopes there are many more games in his future — but at the moment, that future is quite unclear.

Potter was cut by the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday, cutting short his rookie season with the NFL team that drafted him in the seventh round this past spring.

“I was actually surprised that I was kept on this long,” said Potter, who was placed on the inactive list for the Bills’ games in Week 7 loss to Tennessee and the Week 9 loss to Houston (the Bills were on bye on Week 8).

The Bills, who are 3-5 this season, have been ravaged by injuries, and the need to bring in healthy players to replace injured regulars made Potter — the team’s kickoff specialist — expendable.

Potter learned of his fate on Tuesday morning.

“I was actually up in Toronto, and luckily I had turned the roaming on on my phone,” Potter said. “We get Tuesdays off, so I went up there with some of my teammates. I woke up and saw I had a missed call from the Bills, and when you see a missed call from the team on Tuesday, you know what that means.”

Potter was drafted by the Bills to bolster their kickoff unit. They hoped his strong leg would lead to a large percentage of touchbacks, which saves wear and tear on their special teams players.

Potter started out the season well, booming 12 touchbacks out of 21 attempts through is first four games. However, during his final two games with the Bills, he had just one touchback in five attempts.

In all, Potter blasted 13 of his 26 kickoffs out of the end zone. Two more kicks were onside attempts, while 11 were returned by opposing teams.

“I started out really well initially,” Potter said. “I wasn’t kicking poorly, but I got under a few balls, and when you’re kicking only a few times a game (two kickoffs against San Francisco and three against Arizona), it reflects more. I mishit two balls against Arizona. I gut under them. One was a yard deep and the other was five yards deep in the end zone. They had good hang time, but they want touchbacks to keep their players fresh.

“I’ve got to try to drive the ball more now that I see that hangtime isn’t as important as distance.”

Veteran kicker Rian Lindell hasn’t faired any better handling kickoffs for the Bills. In fact, the 13-year NFL veteran has just one touchback in 10 kickoffs the past two games.

Potter just hopes he’ll get another chance, and he’s confident that chance will come.

“I’m going to stay out here and keep training as long as I can,” he said. “I love my apartment, I love Buffalo. I’m going to keep going, training as if I can get called any day.

“Some guys don’t start kicking on a professional team until they’re 28, so you can’t create a timeline for yourself. You have to take it year by year, day by day.”

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