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|Quarterback A.J. McCarron is eager for the opportunity to prove himself with the Buffalo Bills after spending the previous four seasons working in Andy Dalton's shadow.
And it makes no difference to McCarron if the Bills add more competition should they select one of the highly regarded quarterback prospects in the first round of the draft next month.
"I try not to ever waste any mental thought on it because it's something I can't control Kyzir White Jersey Elite ," McCarron said Thursday, after arriving at the Bills facility to officially sign his two-year contract.
"There's no reason for me to really put any thought into it just to be honest with you, because it creates mental clutter for my process that I need to be the best player I need to be."
The 27-year-old said he's not affected by the perception of Buffalo signing him to hold down the starting job on a short-term basis and allow time for a younger quarterback to develop.
"You can either let it affect you in how you go about your work and let that define you. Or you can change everybody's thought process," McCarron said. "My mindset is to change anybody that's had any doubt."
For now, McCarron and 2017 fifth-round draft pick, Nathan Peterman, are the only quarterbacks on Buffalo's roster after the team traded third-year starter Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland last week.
Buffalo is considered among the teams targeting a quarterback in the draft. The Bills have two picks in each of the first three rounds 鈥?including the 12th and 22nd overall.
McCarron was a two-time national champion at Alabama but appeared in just 11 games in Cincinnati, mostly in mop-up duties. McCarron did start the final three games of the 2015 season and led the Bengals to the playoffs after Dalton broke his thumb.
He was on the verge of leading the Bengals to their first playoff win since the 1990 season before Jeremy Hill's fumble and two penalties allowed Pittsburgh to secure an 18-16 win in the AFC wild-card game.
McCarron is now part of the Bills' ongoing roster overhaul in being one of five newcomers to join the team once the NFL's free-agency period opened Wednesday. The others are defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, former Washington pass-rushing specialist Trent Murphy, safety Rafael Bush and linebacker Julian Stanford.
Also on Thursday, the Bills freed up salary cap space by restructuring the contract of veteran offensive guard Richie Incognito.
Lotulelei and Murphy are key additions for the Bills in overhauling a defensive front seven to shore up a unit that ranked 29th against the run and finished tied with the third-fewest sacks at 27.
Lotulelei signed a five-year contract after spending his first five seasons with the Carolina Panthers. The 28-year-old is reunited with Bills coach Sean McDermott, who was the Panthers defensive coordinator before being hired by Buffalo in January 2017.
Lotulelei expects his familiarity with McDermott's defensive philosophy to ease his transition. He's also looking forward to the chance to line up alongside respected veteran Kyle Williams, who signed a one-year contract this week to return for a 13th season.
"Kyle Williams, I've been a big fan of his," Lotulelei said. "Coming here and having the opportunity to learn from him as well as play alongside him will be great."
Murphy was so eager to get to Buffalo Authentic Clive Walford Jersey , he drove overnight through a snowstorm. He arrived at about 1:30 a.m. in making the 320-mile trip from Columbus, Ohio, where he spent the past 10 weeks working out to strengthen his injured left knee. The fourth-year player missed all of last season after tearing two ligaments during Washington's first preseason game.
The injury came after the former second-round draft pick had a career-best nine sacks in 2016. Murphy, who signed a three-year contract, is motivated to prove he can return to playing at the same level.
"I couldn't be more exited to prove everyone here right that I'm who they think I am," he said. "It's just more motivation to grind out the rest of this offseason and get here and get working."
Murphy said he is on track to be fully healthy for the start of the season.
McCarron is getting a fresh start after being nearly traded to Cleveland last season. The deal fell through after the Browns failed to submit the paperwork on time.
And he only became eligible to enter free agency after an independent arbitrator last month ruled McCarron's rookie season counted toward his NFL tenure even though he spent a majority of the year on the non-football injury list because of a sore passing shoulder.
"It's been a little bit of a roller coaster," he said.
"We get impatient and you want things fast and easy, but it's not always that way," McCarron said. "So I think it just adds another chapter to the story in the end. It's just part of the process. It's awesome to be here in this situation now."
At the training facility, Kacy Rodgers is the New York Jets' defensive coordinator.
Everywhere else, he's Dad to Kacy Rodgers II, a versatile defensive back competing to make the team.
The two are enjoying the unique chance to work together in the NFL as father-son and coach-player.
"It's been great," the younger Rodgers said with a smile after a recent minicamp practice. "This is an opportunity that doesn't come around very often and it's extremely rare in our profession to have this situation. I'm just taking it all in and using this opportunity to my fullest and taking advantage of it."
The 26-year-old Rodgers II has been doing exactly that over the last few years just to reach this point. He went undrafted after playing at the University of Miami from 2010-13. Rodgers II had visits with several NFL teams over the last few years and was in the Canadian Football League for three seasons, including the last two with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
He was signed by the Jets in February and has a chance to add depth to New York's secondary, where he's listed as a safety but can also play cornerback as well as contribute on special teams.
New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers and defensive back Kacy Rodgers II get to spend a rare #FathersDay together.It has been a very special time for both as the younger Rodgers tries to make the team.More from @dwaz73: s://t.co/BFu8DuOaJQ pic.OgaWTjYmwb
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"From my standpoint, you have to be proud of him because you know everybody's road is different to get here," the elder Rodgers said. "He wasn't a second-round draft choice and pushed in here. He had some of the rookie weekends that didn't work out. Then he kept trying, kept trying. Then he went to the CFL route, then the CFL practice squad, then he made the CFL roster, became a starter and consequently drew some free agent attention and now is here."
And, just because he has a special relationship with the man running the Jets' defense doesn't mean Rodgers II gets preferential treatment.
"I get on him no different than any other," the elder Rodgers said. "He's my son when we walk outside the building, but when he walks in the building, he's No. 39. He's got a job to do, no different than No. 33, No. 36."
Well, except for the occasional but inevitable good-natured razzing on the field.
During a practice in organized team activities last month, Rodgers II intercepted a pass from rookie Sam Darnold and the defensive players went wild.
"He's your daddy's son!" several of them shouted at the Jets' defensive coordinator Hayden Hurst Youth Jersey , who couldn't help but crack up.
Coach Todd Bowles playfully retrieved the football and handed it to the proud father.
"Just looking at it from the outside in, I think it's great," Bowles said. "It's great on one hand and when another coach is yelling at him, it's probably not great that you're sitting there inside stewing, but they have a great relationship. I've known them for quite a while, since he was probably 12 or 13. Just to see them two together again, as a father, I'm sure you have to be proud.
"I can't imagine because it's his son and himself, but I'm sure they have nice dinner conversations."
Those moments have actually been few and far between over the years. While Rodgers II was growing up and becoming a standout football player on the AAU and high school fields of Southlake, Texas, his father was carving out a coaching career while spending months at a time away from home.
"He didn't get to see me actually play a game until I got to college, and it just so happened that we shared the same stadium 鈥?him with the Dolphins and me with the Hurricanes," Rodgers II said. "If we didn't, I'm not sure when he would've gotten to see me play. Just going from that to seeing him every day and working with him every day, man Youth Derrius Guice Jersey , it's something you really can't describe."
The elder Rodgers had several coaching stops in college before landing a job as Dallas' defensive tackles coach in 2002. He took over as the Cowboys' defensive line coach in 2005 and then served in the same role with Miami from 2008-14 before being hired by Bowles to join his staff as the defensive coordinator in 2015.
"By the time he was finished in high school, I was coaching down south, and then he would come to my games on the weekend and I was fortunate enough his coaches would email me his games so I got to see them," Rodgers said. "I think I got to see him play one time in his high school career. And then in his Canadian Football League career, I got to see him one time in person. It was after our last minicamp practice last year, I flew to Vancouver to watch him play in their last preseason game.
"So it's kind of surreal to see him every day in practice."
And, with minicamp over and the Jets breaking for six weeks before the start of training camp, the two will celebrate Father's Day in person Sunday instead of relying on long-distance phone calls.
"I think this is the first time I've seen my dad more than once or twice in a year just because of our schedules and jobs and things like that, so it'll be special because of the fact we'll be together," Rodgers II said. "I really can't tell you the last time it was, probably 10 years at least. It's been a while. Conflicts in schedules, so we're going to just take advantage and hang out and just enjoy it."