BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Even though Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie admits it was nice hearing teams call about him during free agency, leaving Buffalo wasn’t on his mind.
“That was pretty cool, this is my first time going through that process but it was pretty cool to see teams are interested in me. I take it with a grain of salt. I knew where I wanted to be and I just had to go through the process,” McKenzie said on a zoom call with reporters on Wednesday.
McKenzie signed a one-year deal with the Bills this week making him yet another player general manager Brandon Beane was able to keep.
“I’m familiar with the system in Buffalo, I love my teammates, the whole crew is coming back , obviously the fan base. There’s so much love in Buffalo I mean why would I leave?”
McKenzie said seven or eight teams showed interest in him before re-signing with the Bills. He mentioned the Lions, Bears, Cardinals, Washington and Cleveland.
And like many players that Beane was able to re-sign, McKenzie might have gotten more money had he gone somewhere else. But he knew the situation teams are in including the Bills dealing with the lower salary cap due to the pandemic.
“For me it was like, of course I wanted the money but I understood the circumstances we were under this year and if everything was even, I told my agent I said “hey might as well go back to Buffalo.” I’m already familiar with the system, I like being there anyway and there’s no point of going anywhere else to start over when Buffalo has something good going there,” McKenzie explained.
McKenzie is coming off the best season of his career in 2020 where he had 30 catches for 282 yards and five touchdowns. His most memorable performance came in the regular season finale against the Dolphins where he scored three touchdowns, one on a punt return he took to the end zone.
“I just like being in Buffalo, just being there in general, just the atmosphere, just getting my mind away from everything else and just play football. And that’s what Buffalo allows me to do. To go in that building it’s like a second family to me,” McKenzie said.
“There’s just so much love in Buffalo, you can’t get away from it and I don’t want to be away from it because we have something special going here and I want to keep it going and I want to be a part of that when it does happen.”
But with so much talent in the Bills passing game and how much they can spread the ball around, there’s only so many opportunities he got last year on offense and that might be the case again this year.
“I understand that, I understand my role on this team and when the ball comes my way I just gotta make a play like I did last year. If things change and I get more playing time you know good for me,” McKenzie said.
Another one of McKenzie’s strengths is his speed which can help on special teams. Now that Pro Bowl return man Andre Roberts is off to the Texans, McKenzie should slide into that primary return role.
“Hopefully I can do the best I can to help the team win. But other than that if my role stays the same and I become the returner I just gotta make more plays as a returner and then whatever role I have on offense I gotta make the best of that.”