You know, I'm really tempted to lay my heart out on this metaphorical table and reveal it for all of you to see. I refrained from doing so when we all said goodbye to Miller, mostly because the long, drawn-out inevitability of the deal made the whole thing too depressing for me to really face when it happened because I already had done so a dozen times.
I don't know what good it will do me. Or you. Some restraint is how I'll keep myself together.
Today floored me. Not because it wasn't rumored, but because it all happened so quickly, so wrapped up in the nonsense that seems to have been following Stevie Johnson for the past three or four years, that it was easily dismissible. It could be swept away with the trash of criticisms of his "attitude problems" - the guy LOVED being a Buffalo Bill, what other kind of attitude do you need? - and the criticisms of his inconsistent play - the guy broke franchise records and did so catching balls from, and this is being kind, shitstain QBs - and whatever other rumblings kept popping up about him not being elite or being able to catch the game-winning balls. I made some of these criticisms, to be fair; even a few today as I processed the news.
Today didn't seem like it could happen because, fucking hell, this was one of *our* guys. When he dropped that ball against Pittsburgh, the reaction that followed - his reaction - was because he was one of our guys. It wasn't because he was selfish or had lost perspective or hated God ... it was because he loved us. He loved the Bills. It fucking mattered to him in a way that was surprising, that was jarring in its expression, and that was ultimately the foundation of what endeared Stevie so much to me.
There was never a question that this guy was committed to making my team better and to finding a way to make it win. And so, for me, there was never really a question - not when the rumors started and not when the Bills snagged Watkins last night and revealed their hand - as to whether I could imagine him not being a Bill and no longer being one of *our* guys.
He was flawed, not unlike the franchise and fan base he played for, but in the midst of those flaws he participated in the task of Buffalo Bills football in a manner that was ultimately unassailable. In a manner of quality that was unmatched by the vast majority of his teammates, the executives and coaches he played for, and the fan base that wavered between support and scorn.
He was flawed and fantastic and bemoaned and beloved. He was often just what we needed, and often not quite enough.
And now, well... we come to is the familiarity of it, the task of wrapping one's head around the idea of a great, beloved player leaving Buffalo ... no matter how deep that love is or was, it's necessarily paired with a similarly deep regret.
Let's Go Buffalo.