Groy humbled to be the starting center

September 07, 2018 - 11:18 am

In the weeks before the Week 1 season opener against the Baltimore Ravens, the Buffalo Bills had a number of open roster spots that were open for competition. Aside from the most important battle at quarterback, that was ultimately won by Nathan Peterman, the Bills had a significant battle at center.

Ryan Groy was able to beat out Russell Bodine this summer, and will be snapping the ball to Peterman come this Sunday in Baltimore.

“It felt good. It’s definitely something I’ve been working for for a long time,” Groy said with Howard Simon and Jeremy White on Friday. “I’m so glad and thankful that it’s here and it’s an awesome opportunity.”

The Bills were put in a tough situation this offseason after beloved longtime center Eric Wood failed his end-of-season physical and was forced to retire due to a neck injury. However, Groy says that he learned a lot from the veteran center in preparation for his new role on the team.

“I learned so much from Eric,” said Groy. “He was a great mentor for me. He showed me how to carry myself, go about your business, and be a leader. I’m grateful for everything he taught me.”

The 27-year-old attended Wisconsin and after red-shirting in 2009, set the school record for playing all 54 career games. During his time as a Badger, he played left guard, left tackle, center and even fullback. In 2011 and 2012, he was a member of the Badgers when they won back-to-back Big Ten Championships over Michigan State and Nebraska, respectively.

After going undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft, Groy signed with the Chicago Bears and became a practice squad member until being promoted in November. In August of 2015, he was traded to the New England Patriots, but was waived a month after due to injury. In October, he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before getting signed by the Bills a month later after an injury to Wood.

Now, with the focus on the 2018 season, Groy is poised to keep working to make sure the offensive line gets better and better.

“You’re always going to get better as a unit. There is no excuse at the end of the day, you always need to keep focusing on your job and as a unit,” Groy said. “On the line, the offense goes as you go and if you mess it up and make the wrong call, the offense will not benefit.

“We got exposed a little bit,” he said about the preseason games against the Browns and Bengals, where they gave up nine sacks combined and two quarterbacks leaving because of injury. “We took it as a shot. We aren’t happy about either, but maybe you can say it’s a humbling experience, but we looked at the tape and we know how we’re going to get better with that.”

Groy is undoubtedly ready for the season to start with Peterman taking the snaps.

“We had a lot of time together, during all of OTAs, all of camp, got to know each other pretty well. It didn’t really matter who’s back there, it all feels natural at the end of the day,” said Groy. “He’s hungry. Nate’s a very hungry and humble guy,” said Groy. “He wants to win, he’s all business and he’s going to do whatever he needs to do to help us win.”

You can listen to Groy's entire interview with Howard and Jeremy below:

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