On Tuesday afternoon, the Buffalo Bills announced that star defensive lineman Marcell Dareus had been suspended by the National Football League for four games, for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Both the Bills and Marcell Dareus issued a statement, but Wednesday was the first time anyone had talked and fielded questions from the media on hand.
The entirety of what the Bills had to say about it on Wednesday:
Defensive lineman Marcell Dareus
What can you say about the decision that came down yesterday?
I mean, I really don’t have much to say. Words really don’t mean anything now. It’s all action. That’s all I’m going to do. I’m going to come back and do the best that I can. I’m just apologizing to my team, my family, I embarrassed my kids, I mean, who I am and who I’m working to be. I still have a nice career, and I want to thank God for that and at the same time, I apologize to Terry, and Rex, and everyone else — and everyone that said they have my back, and we’re family we’ll stand by you, but at the same time, like I said, words doesn’t mean anything now. It’s all action.
How difficult was it to face your teammates?
I mean, my team loves me to death. They know what kind of person, and they know who I am. And they aren’t on the outside looking in, they know who I am. And they have my back, they said ‘Marcell, we’re going to hold it down, and we’re going to make sure everything is okay, and we know you’re going to be around, you’re going to support us, and I know you’re going to help us regardless, and you’re going to be ready’… and that’s just what it is.
Team statement that said you put yourself first, how do you react to that?
I put myself last for the most part. I’m a big-hearted person, and I never put myself first. You watch me play and you’ll see that. It’s not about me. I sacrifice myself, and I sacrifice myself for my family. It’s never about me, but, everyone makes dumb decisions, nobody’s perfect. And at the same time, hey, just continue to work and move forward. Like I said, talk is cheap. Talk is cheap. We can say anything. Y’all will see me when I get back.
Was it a missed test, or did you test positive?
People are going to say whatever, whatever you guys are going to write up, you guys are going to write up.
Well, clarify rather than having us guess.
It was a missed test. It was a missed test, but at the same time, things got out, people said this, and people said that, and I got scalded about it, but at the same time, I know who I have to answer to. And that’s what it is.
How hard is it going to be to watch the first four games, knowing the first two are division games?
I can’t even express how I feel about that. I give my life to this team, so it’s hard to even just watch these guys practice knowing I can’t really be a part of it the way I want to.
What do you tell kids and fans about how you feel what happened?
Most of the kids come to me, and most of the parents are like, ‘We have your back, and we support you. And I just say, ‘I’m sorry, and I’m going to do better.’ Talk is cheap, I’ll show you. It is what it is, and we’ll have to move forward.
What do you do now to not do that anymore?
I have to figure it out. I can say whatever, but whatever I tell you really doesn’t mean… I’ll show you, but I can’t tell you. Talk is cheap.
How long did you know that this was coming down the pipeline?
Honestly, I didn’t know. It got released to me, and when I got it, it was like right after the game. I was notified, we talked to everyone, and from there we just kind of kept moving on, and here we are now.
At that point did you tell the team?
Of course, of course. I’m not going to waste any time.
Saturday, you mean after the preseason game?
Bills head coach Rex Ryan
Your thoughts on Marcell being suspended
Obviously you mentioned disappointment. That, and frustration. I think those two big words right there, that I’m frustrated and disappointed, as is everybody in this organization. Every teammate, top to bottom, and I’m sure our fans are feeling the same way. We all know what kind of player Marcell is, and you know, as a person to. But, he’s got to make better choices, he’s got to make better decisions and understand that it effects the whole football team and not just himself, so I think that’s it. Better choices — he has to make better choices off the field. And you know, the way the team feels, we all care a great deal for Marcell. That can’t be overlooked either. We want to see this be a thing that’s behind him, once and for all that this never happens again to him. If that is, he’ll be better for it, this team will be better for it. And also the team now has an opportunity, guys can either learn from this, let somebody else’s unfortunate thing happen, but you need to learn from it also, and hopefully we don’t have these things. I realize, I recognize nobody’s perfect. But we’ve got to learn from these things, and hopefully moving forward, we don’t have these things occur anymore.
Are the Bills putting anything in place to help Dareus?
We will support him as an organization in any way we possibly can. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. Will we formulate a plan for him when he’s suspended? Absolutely, 100-percent, we will. But I think it comes down, most of the time — regardless of the help that you provide, it comes down to the choices of the individual. Again, I’m not preaching. Nobody’s perfect. Trust me, I understand that. I know I’m not. But we’ve got to make better decisions, and Marcell has to. You can see I’m frustrated, because I really am. He’s one of our best players, if not the best, he’s right there and it’s going to hurt this team.
At what point do you stop giving chances to players that have off-the-field incidents?
We’re not close. I look it as an opportunity for us to help a young man out in any way we can. I always say, well what can I do personally. I don’t know, but I’m going to look deep, and if there’s something that I think I can do personally, then I’m going to. And that’s this whole organization. We’re here for this young man, we’re here for all our players. But, I don’t even want to broach that topic of the ‘what if’s’ or whatever else.
When did you learn about the suspension?
The same time when you guys learned, a day ago, two days ago, whatever.
There’s a report that the Bills knew about the suspension in June.
Well, I can tell you about that report. 100-percent false. I mean, 100-percent false. I have no idea.
Do you worry at all about how everything off the field reflects on you?
Nope, not at all. That’s fine. That’s what you sign up for when you’re head coach and that’s fine. I like this football team. We’re not perfect, we’ve had a couple guys make mistakes. But I like this team. It’s a hard-working team, it cares, we’re not above ‘em. We’ve had some guys make mistakes, and that’s disappointing. You know, I’ll take it in the total thing. I’ll take whatever happens with this football team, I’ll sign up for it.
Do you have any concern that this is a culture thing?
No, I don’t have that. I think it’s an isolated deal. I think it’s an individual thing.
How much does Marcell care?
I think he cares a great deal. His situation may not be that much different than some other guys that I’ve had, but he has to make those decisions. And I understand that there’s going to be some people that are going to be cynical of him, there’s some people that will never give him the benefit of the doubt anymore, but for the majority of people, it’s more of a show me thing. I believe that moving forward, that this young man will learn from this experience and be a better person for it.
With all the incidents, at what point do his apologies ring hollow?
I think that’s what I’m getting at. I think some people will look at him differently now and the only way he can change that, the public perception of him, is to go back and do the right thing — and even become a better person. I truly believe that, in an ideal world, that’s exactly what will happen.
Bills general manager Doug Whaley
Your individual view of this Dareus suspension?
It’s frustration and disappointment, but like I said, this guy is family. And I know western New Yorkers are big on family values and we will not give up on a family member, especially in a time of need. That’s the easy thing to do.
How do you view the team’s accountability that this happened?
It’s not a right to play in the NFL, it’s a privilege. You have to hold up your end of the bargain and we’re going to do as much as possible with the support system that we have — between player engagements, and all this other support systems we have in place now. But again, it’s a two-way street. They have to be able to hold up their end of the bargain as well.
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