NASHVILLE, TN (WKBW) — Buffalo Bills TE Dawson Knox grew up in Nashville about 15 minutes from Nissan Stadium where the Bills will take on the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football.
Ahead of the matchup, 7 Eyewitness Sports Director Matt Bové sat down with Knox and discussed his journey to the NFL.
Growing up Knox cheered for the Titans and loved the late Titans quarterback Steve McNair. Knox idolized McNair and he was one of the biggest reasons why Knox wanted to be a quarterback.
“When I was old enough my parents let me start playing full-padded football like in fifth grade," said Knox.
The Bills tight end was undersized and got his start at running back and eventually wide receiver at Brentwood Academy. It wasn't until his senior year when he earned his shot at playing quarterback, but it was short lived.
"Dawson’s first start, first and only start as a quarterback at Brentwood Academy we get to the third quarter and we’ve got a pretty big lead and we put the wild cat package out there and we throw him a hitch and he pops it for 30 yards, gets tackled on the sideline and he breaks his ankle, badly, and he was done," said Cody White, head football coach at Brentwood Academy.
The injury made Knox question whether he wanted to continue playing football.
"And at that point I was like, you know, 'am I even going to keep playing football?' Like I’m not going to have any offers, I don’t even know if I want to keep playing like I’ve had these injuries that just suck and I don’t want to be on crutches for 10 weeks," said Knox.
Following the injury Knox leaned on those closest to him, like Jacob Cretin, a longtime and former teammate who has been by his side since grade school.
“It would’ve been very easy to just pack it in and just say this wasn’t for me. But he didn’t quit, his spirits were high and it was really incredible to see. It’s a story I very much enjoy telling younger athletes like hey, look at this example, look what can be done," said Cretin.
The perseverance Knox showed paid off, the morning of his ankle surgery he got a call from the head coach at Ole Miss and they asked Dawson to try and walk on.
“At the time I was like, I don’t even know what walking on means, I don’t even know if I want to keep playing, but sure, once I can walk, I’ll be down to take a visit and it just kind of went from there," said Knox.
Knox went on to play tight end for Ole Miss and a few years later he was a third round pick of the Bills.
In his third season Knox is silencing the critics, as he has 18 receptions for 261 yards and five touchdowns in five games played.
“It doesn’t surprise me," said Cretin. "I was telling someone earlier, it’s incredible to see, but, why am I not shocked? It’s Dawson, he overcomes.”
Knox said his family and his faith motivate him, and when asked what will make this season a success he responded "winning a Super Bowl, anything short of that and we wouldn’t call it a successful year.”