ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Place-kicking in Buffalo’s swirling winds and wintry conditions is daunting enough for Tyler Bass to not become complacent after signing a four-year, $21 million contract extension with the Bills on Friday.
The 26-year-old can also draw on his past, and the challenges Bass overcame as being a walk-on at Georgia Southern, to keep him motivated.
“I’m never going to forget that. I’m still going to grind,” Bass said during a conference call. “It’s just a little bit relieving, you know, you have a little bit of security. But at the end of the day, you still got to work. That’s what got me here, that’s what I’m going keep doing as best I can.”
The Bills placed their faith in Bass by locking him up through 2027 a year before his rookie contract expired. Selected in the sixth round of the 2020 draft, Bass has established himself as one of the NFL’s more reliable kickers despite playing in the inclement conditions near Lake Erie.
With 405 points, Bass ranks third among players since entering the league in 2020, trailing only Las Vegas kicker Daniel Carlson (431 points) and Baltimore’s Justin Tucker (409). Bass already ranks eighth on the team’s career list, and became Buffalo’s first player to score at least 120 points in three separate seasons, including a franchise-record 141 as a rookie.
“It’s unreal feeling,” Bass said. “You obviously dream about it as a kid, but it’s hard to see as the kid, like, looking up now, `Holy cow, this is unbelievable.′ The little kid in me is jumping up with joy, for sure.”
Bass has hit 83 of 97 field-goal attempts, including 8 of 13 from 50 yards or longer. His 54-yard field goal in a 27-24 wild-card playoff win over Indianapolis on Jan. 9, 2021, was the longest by a rookie in postseason history, and matched the team record set by Steve Christie in 1993. He’s also converted 156 of 160 extra-point attempts.
Not lost on Bass is the contract extension has the potential of providing him an opportunity to play in the Bills’ new stadium to be located across the street from their current facility. Construction is projected to begin this spring and completed in time for the 2026 season.
“I’ve definitely seen some of the renderings and it looks beautiful and yeah, definitely excited for that,” Bass said.