ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – As Bills tight end Dawson Knox gets ready to try and build off his breakout season last year, he’ll do it with the memory of his younger brother, Luke who passed away suddenly last month.

“I know he’s gonna be watching somehow, some way,” Knox said.

Dawson talked with the media on Monday after practice for the first time since Luke passed away and expressed his appreciation for all the love and support his family has gotten over the past few weeks.

“Everybody in Buffalo has been incredible, the amount of texts I’ve gotten, the messages, the posts, the moment of silence before the preseason game, it’s just been everything that I expected out of Buffalo and more,” Knox said.

Bills fans have donated to different players’ charities and did so once again, this time raising money for the P.U.N.T. Foundation, an organization that helps fight pediatric cancer and a group Knox works closely with. As of Monday, donations were up to $225,000 in honor of Luke.

Fans stand for a moment of silence for Luke Knox, the brother of Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox, before a preseason NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

“It’s more than I could have ever expected but at the same time it’s weirdly not surprising just because this is such an incredible city with such an incredible fan base and people It really, truly does feel like home, I know I’ve said that before but I kind of realized that for the first time when I came back up here after everything that it really does feel like a second home to me,” Knox explained.

Luke was a linebacker and about to start his first season at Florida International after spending the last four seasons at Ole Miss. He was just 22 when he died on August 17th.

After spending time with his family, Dawson returned to the Bills the following week and was back at practice on August 23rd, something that is helping him heal.

“Just getting back up here, getting in the routine, seeing all my teammates, seeing my coaches, definitely from a distraction standpoint it’s great too but it’s also very therapeutic just doing what I love with the guys I love. I know that my brother would want it that way too, he wants me to give everything I got,” Knox said.

The Bills honored Luke with a moment of silence before their second preseason game against the Broncos and some players even wore shirts that said “Long Live Luke”.

Heather Prusak is a sports reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2020. See more of her work here.