Imagine being specially handpicked by an employer, find success with it, and then one day being abruptly shipped off to a brand new employer. This is what happened to the now-former Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus last week when he was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Yes, trades are just a part of the cold, harsh reality that athletes face all the time in professional sports, but it's often forgotten that athletes are humans just like the rest of us. They are full of emotions and are not just commodities waiting around to be acquired and sold as teams see fit.
The last few months of Dareus’ tenure with Bills were seemingly rocky to the say the least, but no matter how it may have looked, Dareus seems to have really enjoyed his time with the Bills. Speaking to the media for the first time as Jaguar on Monday, the six-foot-three, 319-pound behemoth of a man, admits that he’s still shaken up by the trade.
"I still haven't gotten over it yet," Dareus said. "I'm still in shock. I'm shocked for a trade. I'm shocked that this defense, this team ... I'm still just taking it all in. It's three days, man. Three days."
Dareus, a native of Alabama, played his college ball in the state as a member of the Crimson Tide, and then went on to find a home in Buffalo after the team made him the third-overall selection in the 2011 draft. He was selected to two Pro Bowls (2013-14) and an All-Pro team (‘14) in nearly five and half seasons with the Bills. The team rewarded his efforts with a monster $100 million extension in 2015.
So even though he heard the trade rumblings involving his name, Dareus didn’t expect the Bills to actually pull the trigger on a deal.
"Little overwhelming," Dareus said. "Kind of saw some things happening but at the same time I was getting prepared for the game and we had a game plan in and I was practicing all week and I'm just zoned in, trying to keep negativity out. And when I got the call and things happened the way it did, I can't lie it did make me a little emotional because I know [Saturday] it is a one-way ticket [to Jacksonville].
"It was so swift that before I knew it I was already in Charlotte and by the time I got to Charlotte, a blink of the eye and I'm here in Jacksonville saying hey to the coaches, the biggest cocktail party in the world, and with all that going on it was just -- the world is spinning. Traded, on the plane, cocktail party, going to the stadium, saying hello, getting out, going to the hotel room laying on the bed looking at the roof: What is going on?"
Again, even though it felt like he had fallen into a pretty awkward spot with the Bills this season under their new regime, it’s pretty cool to hear that Dareus was emotional over leaving the team. There have been countless examples around the league of big-name players that have found themselves presented with similar circumstances, but have chosen to not handle them as graciously as Dareus has throughout the entire ordeal, even dating back to last summer.
Props to him for that and hopefully he finds success with the Jaguars.