When the Buffalo Bills rolled out to practice on Friday night for the “Return of the Blue & Red” scrimmage, they did it with a new member of the squad. Mason Schrantz, 12, of Dunkirk, signed a one-day deal with the team on Friday and was named an honorary captain for that night’s practice. Schrantz was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma in December of 2017.
BREAKING NEWS: We’re excited to announce we’ve signed Mason Schrantz to a one-day contract.— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) August 5, 2022
Our honorary captain will be on the field tonight for the Return of the Blue & Red Practice! #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/VgLdcosT0L
Schrantz was days away from succumbing to an aggressive tumor when he was first brought to the emergency room with a cough and swollen face in 2017. His chest x-ray revealed a football-sized tumor was blocking the artery from his head to his heart.
In December of 2017, the Bills were making a run at ending the team’s 17-year playoff drought. On New Year’s Eve, they clinched a playoff spot for the first time since the 2000 season right as Schrantz was beginning his journey. A man of few words, Mason declined the chance to speak to the team, but his father spoke of how the team inspired his son.
“We want you guys to fight like he did,” Dominic Schrantz told the team. “We watched some of your games in the hospital and you beat the Miami Dolphins to make it to the playoffs in the first year. That was a turning point.”
Head coach Sean McDermott shepherded the father and son along with Mason’s little brother through the event with grace, even remembering that it was the Cincinnati Bengals beating the Baltimore Ravens that helped the Bills secure their playoff spot.
In 2018, after receiving treatment at Roswell Cancer Center and Oshei Children’s Hospital, he went Christmas shopping with Bills safety Jordan Poyer. On Friday night, he led the “Bills” chant before practice.