The Buffalo Bills signed two offensive linemen on Monday. On Tuesday, Russell Bodine and Marshall Newhouse met with the media on a conference call. Here is the transcript on Bodine, who said he’s been given the opportunity to compete with Ryan Groy for the starting center job vacated by the retiring Eric Wood.
Q: Russell, simple question: Why the Bills?
A: The Bills are a team I was somewhat familiar with. We played them a couple times since I’ve been in the league. It’s an organization that’s got a good reputation. They’re building, they’re on the rise, making the playoffs last year. Unfortunately, with Eric [Wood] [and him] having to retire, however that’s shaken down [with] medical stuff, there’s obviously some opportunity at the position there and I’ve heard nothing but positive things about the organization. It was definitely something I was interested in from the get-go.
Q: Russell, do you laugh at all with the connection between the Bills and the Bengals going back to that last week of the regular season and now AJ McCarron has signed here, you’ve signed here, Preston Brown goes the other way? It seems like these two teams have been kind of connected really closely here.
A: Yeah, it was kind of a weird deal this offseason, swapping players left and right. That was something you don’t necessarily see very often. Going back to the end of the season obviously, we were happy to pull that win off in the end and to be honest, I didn’t know the consequences that would have in Buffalo, but clearly, based off the reactions, they were pretty thrilled about it, too.
Q: Russell, you mentioned earlier Eric Wood obviously is going to be forced to retire here. Do you anticipate coming in to compete with Ryan Groy for that starting center job here?
A: Yeah, I think that’s the expectation. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and what he did in the tail end of last year. [He] certainty looks like a good player. That being said, I’m coming in [and] I’m trying to play, too. Obviously, we’ll have to figure out how that goes, but we’ll see.
Q: Russell, just your thoughts on joining AJ here and the familiarity that that presents to you, just having a guy you’re used to snapping to?
A: Yeah, I mean, obviously that’s a little comfort level for both of us, having been around each other for four years and obviously we work pretty closely. I’ve talked to him quite a bit over the day or so and I think we’re both excited about the opportunity.
Q: There have been some reviews of your play, whether it’s through analytics websites or the All-22 looks that have not been overly positive or flattering. Do you pay any attention to that kind of stuff and if so, how do you react to it, and do you agree or disagree, I guess, with some of those reviews? [Editor’s note: Here’s our All-22 look]
A: Yeah, I’ll be honest, I obviously don’t read all that stuff. I think, with any player, you’d drive yourself nuts sitting there reading all the media stuff. It is what it is. I definitely think- you go through four years and 64 starts, whatever it’s been, and you definitely learn a few things, I think. Obviously, I can say at times I haven’t played up to my own expectations for myself, but I certainly think I’m still on the way up. I would say every game at this point, you’re still learning; you’re always getting better. I’m excited to get over there and work will Juan [Castillo]. He’s got a reputation for making guys into good players, great players, and I’m excited to get going on that end.
Q: Russell, have you done any recon with maybe some friends, fellow linemen around the league that have worked with Brian Daboll, just to kind of get a sense of what you’re walking into here? I know you can’t really discuss X’s and O’s under the new CBA until April, so just curious if you did any recon in that regard?
A: To be completely honest with you, I don’t know a whole lot about Brian. I have some friends that have played with Juan, actually my roommate from college, James Hurst, played with him, played under him, for two years in Baltimore and had nothing but positive things to say about him. Like I said, he’s got the reputation around the league of making guys better players. Like I said, I’m excited to get out there and get going.
Q: Going back to AJ McCarron for a second, obviously, he hasn’t played very much in his four years in the league, but you get to see him every day at practice. Are you confident that he’s a guy who can be a starting caliber quarterback in the NFL and be successful?
A: Yeah, absolutely, I believe that. Just talking to him, he’s excited about the opportunity. If you remember the little streak that he played a few years ago, we had all but won one playoff game with the best quarterback. We go down and we fumble at the end of the game, drive and basically run it out and we get a few defensive penalties, I’m sure everybody remembers or can look up that meltdown that we had against the Steelers, but from AJ’s perspective, that was- we were right there at winning a playoff game with him as the starting quarterback. He’s got all the things that it takes to do it and it’s just a matter of going out there, working hard, getting familiar with a new system, and I have all the confidence in him that he can handle it.
Q: Russell, you have started and played every game of your career since you came in the league. That’s pretty rare for a player at any position. What do you attribute that to?
A: You know, I think a lot of that’s just- there’s a little bit of luck to it, there’s a little bit of- obviously, everybody’s going to be hurting and be banged up at times. I’ve played through some stuff; some ankles [injuries], some wrist stuff, but not anything serious for sure. It’s just a matter of just going out there and trying to be a gritty guy. You’ve got to go out there and show up for your teammates. They’re counting on you and you’re counting on them. I think it’s important to go out there and show out for them every week.