Lung issues force Bills’ Poyer to take long road to KC

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Prevented from flying because of the aftereffects of a collapsed lung, Bills safety Jordan Poyer and the team came up with the next best alternative for him to get to Kansas City for a game against the Chiefs.

Driving.

The team rented a luxury van, which included room for sleeping, for Poyer, his wife and child to make the 14-hour, near 1,000-mile trek to Arrowhead Stadium for Buffalo’s 24-20 win over the Chiefs on Sunday.

And Poyer was still on the road Monday in making the return trip long after the rest of the team arrived in Buffalo to kick off its bye week.

“What level of commitment, right?” coach Sean McDermott said on Monday, a day after news of Poyer’s travel arrangements were revealed following the win.

“Just that level of dedication and commitment, I think, goes a long way on our team. And he’s not the only one. We’ve got a lot of guys, that would do that as well. So my hat goes off to Jordan in this case.”

Poyer was limited to driving because the rib injuries he sustained in a 23-20 win at Baltimore two weeks ago resulted in a collapsed lung, which the team’s medical staff feared could be affected by air pressure changes that come with air travel. Poyer, however, was cleared to play after the injury forced him to miss a 38-3 win over Pittsburgh last week.

The decision for Poyer to drive to Kansas City was made over the course of last week, and with input from the team’s head athletic trainer Nate Breske as well as the player, McDermott said.

“I’m not going to go too far into that, but I trust our medical staff in their communication with Jordan, in this case, and I know our docs were heavily involved. I’ll just leave it at that,” McDermott said, noting Poyer left for Kansas City after practice on Friday.

Poyer isn’t the first NFL player to have to rely on ground travel to make it to a game. Former Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson, now with Cleveland, took a 12-hour bus ride to play in the Texans’ game at Jacksonville in 2018 after sustaining a similar injury.

Poyer now gets a break with Buffalo (5-1) off until hosting the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 30.

He was credited for playing all 67 defensive snaps, and finished with four tackles against the Chiefs.

Poyer made no mention of his mode of travel in speaking to reporters following the game.

“Obviously, when you play an opponent like this, you want to come out with a victory,” Poyer said of the win. “It’s good we got it going into the bye week. We got to get everybody healthy and come back home against the Packers.”

Poyer entered Monday tied with Seattle’s Tariq Woolen for the NFL lead with four interceptions. Poyer’s four picks have come in just four games after he also missed one outing with a foot injury.

He’s in his 10th NFL season and sixth in Buffalo, while in the final year of his contract. Poyer skipped the Bills spring voluntary practice sessions in a bid to negotiate a contract extension.

Though the Bills have not extended his contract, they did restructure the final year by increasing his bonus incentives to $2 million, up from $500,000 last month.

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