That would signify he would have been one of the cuts the team made to reach the NFL mandatory 53-player limit before the start of the regular season.
Potter endured through a restless night with little sleep, but fortunately, his cell phone never rang.
“It was one of the hardest days I’ve ever gone through,” Potter said Friday evening. “Basically, they call out the guys who don’t make it, so you’re not entirely sure (if you’re on the team), until they’re gone.”
Unless the Bills have a cruel change-of-heart, Potter will be a member of the Bills in Week 1 of the NFL regular season, as they’ll travel to face AFC North Division rival, the New York Jets.
“It’s going to be really exciting,” Potter said. “Obviously, this will mean a lot more, but I expect to handle it the same from my experience in the preseason. Fortunately, we’ve had great crowds for our games, including last week, which was Kid’s Day.”
Potter is believed to be the first-ever Grand Haven native to play in the NFL.
“It’s really going to be great to be able to represent Grand Haven,” he said.
A seventh-round draft pick in April’s NFL Draft, Potter gave himself about a 50-50 chance to make the cut just last week, considering if the Bills kept him, they’d have two kickers on their roster. Potter has been used as the team’s kickoff specialist throughout the preseason, while 13-year NFL veteran Rian Lindell handles the field goals and extra points.
But according to the Bills’ official website, the team surprised many by releasing five wide receivers that were on the roster bubble, including Muskegon native Ruvell Martin.
“I just went out to dinner with him while we were in Detroit and found out he was from Muskegon,” Potter said. “It’s tough that he didn’t make it.”
Potter said he spent a portion of Friday driving players who received the bad news to the airport.
“It’s bittersweet, because you become close to a lot of these guys and it’s tough to say good-bye,” Potter said. “One of them was Shawn Powell, a punter from Florida State, and we were really good friends. But we’ve already got Brian Moorman as our punter, so he wasn’t able to beat him out at that position. But (Powell) has a lot of opportunities ahead of him.”
Potter, a 6-foot-2, 209-pound kicker from Western Michigan University, has impressed the team with ability to boom his kicks into the end zone for touchbacks. Twelve of Potter’s 14 kicks during the preseason have resulted in touchbacks.
During the Bills’ regular season finale against the Detroit Lions on Thursday at Ford Field in Detroit, Potter sent his first two kicks out of the back of the end zone. His third kick was taken 4 yards deep in the end zone and returned to the Lions’ 19 yard line; his fourth was taken just inside the end zone and returned to the 17.
“It was nice to have the opportunity to have a lot of my best friends come over for that game,” Potter said. “Most of my family is from the state, too, so they were able to come. It felt great and it was a really good game.”
Potter said he also noticed the Tri-Cities Mariners youth football team was in attendance at Ford Field. The team played during halftime.
Potter holds Western Michigan University records for most career points by a kicker (333), as well as program records for most tackles by a kicker (36), consecutive PATs made in a season (54), and consecutive PATs made in a career (129).