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Injury analysis: new Buffalo Bills LB Tyler Matakevich

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The special teams ace finds a new home. How healthy is he?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Newly signed Buffalo Bills LB Tyler Matakevich has process written all over him. A seventh-round draft pick out of Temple by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2015 draft, Matakevich quickly found his niche as a special teams ace during his time in Pittsburgh.

In addition to his primary use on special teams, Matakevich has been a true iron man on the field. Going back to his freshman year at Temple, he has played in 113 games plus four playoff games equaling 117 out of 118 games during that time.

Below is a season-by-season breakdown of Matakevich’s injuries.

2016

Appeared in all 16 games without any starts, not suffering any injuries. Most of his play was on special teams with one game against the Miami Dolphins in which he saw extensive time on defense.

2017

Appeared in 15 games, missing one game due to a shoulder injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13. As a result, he missed the game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14. Week 13 was the only time that he saw extensive playing time on defense.

He was able to return the next week. It was later revealed that he suffered a left torn shoulder labrum that required surgery in the offseason.

2018

Matakevich’s third pro season saw him return to form, appearing in all 16 games with one game started. He managed to avoid the injury report and saw extensive time on defense in two games.

2019

His last season in Pittsburgh saw appearances in all 16 games with his use exclusively on special teams. He only saw spot time on defense here and there with a season-high seven plays early on. He also managed to avoid injury yet again.

Bills Impact

Prior to this signing, I had no idea who Matakevich was. I haven’t even watched film of him but I already want to see him fly around on special teams. If you read his Temple bio, you’ll see why he has process written all over him. He is a selfless player who understands his role on the team but can step in to play defense as necessary.

There is slight concern that the torn left labrum in his shoulder could give him problems, but he appears in good shape. This occurred three seasons ago and the rate to re-tear a labrum following surgery is roughly 8-10%. Considering he has had two seasons since then without issue indicates minimal concern moving forward.

He may take someone’s job on the roster this year, but competition brings the best out of everyone, increasing the talent levels. Even if he settles into a reserve role in head coach Sean McDermott’s defense, I fully expect him to play as needed, become a force on special teams, and stay healthy.