David Nelson proved to be an important safety valve for Geno Smith against New England. Credit: Getty Images
Former Bills wide receiver David Nelson is rather philosophical about his return to Buffalo this week, the team that signed him out of college. They are also the team that, this past February, chose not to re-sign him following a knee injury in 2012 that cost him 15 games.
It isn't animosity from Nelson, who was signed by the Bills in 2010 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Florida and immediately became an impact player. But a knee injury in the first game of the 2012 season was followed by an inglorious axing from Buffalo. The Jets picked him up as a free agent early this season with injuries having depleted their depth at wide receiver. This Sunday marks the first time he's ever played the Bills.
Five games into his Jets career, Nelson has shown no signs of limitation due to the injury with 16 catches for 199 yards.
“There's definitely going to be a little extra motivation this week, a little extra excitement leading into the game. Whether you like it or not, you love the game of football ... but you're always looking for something to give you an edge,” Nelson said. “That's why you see coaches create billboard material; that's why you see random things that motivate players. This week, I don't need anything extra. I've got it in the bank. I'm excited to play.”
Earlier this week, Nelson said he found out about his release from the Bills in February on Twitter, something that clearly was a slap in the face to him. After two full seasons in upstate New York where he earned a reputation as a gritty wide receiver willing to put his body on the line including blocking, it was the ultimate insult.
That he was cut by the Bills following an injury is one thing, the way it was done was something entirely different. He doesn't hate the Bills – in fact he counts former teammates such as C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson and Aaron Williams among his close friends – but he clearly has a chip on his shoulder this Sunday.
“It's one of those things where there's no law. Nothing says that they have to call me or reach out to me in any sort of fashion. It's just the way it goes. It's the nature of this business and it's just the way they handled it is the way they wanted to handle it,” Nelson said. “I myself would have handled it a little differently. I feel like I was in a position I had built a relationship with them that it would have been handled a little different. There's nothing I can do about that; I have to move on and approach it the best way I know how.”