Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, NFL Harrison Phillips: "It's a Blessing to be in This Position" | Buffalo Bills | One Bills Live
I didn’t even realize this you’re also up for the salute to service award, which i get is that also being awarded this weekend? I think it is right yeah i i believe so. Yes, so that’s awesome man, congratulations! A huge honor to be down here, um and represent the bills you know, like i mentioned when i first got my nomination. Ours is really unique because we have so many deserving guys in our locker room. I mean it’s, incredible and so uh to be the kind of catalyst that gets to come down here and represent our organization in western new york. Uh is a huge blessing and i was just gon na say, like you’re, like the meryl streep down there, you’re like nominated for a bunch of different categories. Here i mean you have to double it up. Man it’s, like that’s, pretty cool because i don’t know. If i, i should have looked it up, but i didn’t have the time to do it because i’m curious, how many of the guys you know up for walter payton man of the year are also up for like salute to service. I bet that the number is very few. I bet there’s, probably only a handful of guys that are that are double fisting like you are so good on you, man for uh, for all your efforts appreciate that um, the playmakers, obviously, is your um great cause. Your foundation and i think the thing that i like the best about how you run that is very often you don’t just go and speak to kids or you know, council, kids or you know, kind of mentor.
Kids, you mobilize kids to help kids um. So maybe just talk about that aim because it’s, i think, it’s a very unique way to run a foundation because you’re almost helping the next generation help themselves. Yeah correct and um yeah you kind of hit the nail on the head. There it’s been a blessing to work with the kids that we do and been so fortunate to find so many great kids in western new york um, but yeah. We try to you, know just inspire these kids. You know we work primarily with kids, with developmental differences and special needs, but we also like to pair them the same way that special olympics does in unified sports, with at risk kids in the inner city of buffalo um, so there’s a unique dynamic already there. You know you have you know people from the inner city working with kids with special needs and there’s a really cool relationship that forms there, but then also there’s such a negative perception that kids with special needs are, you know, dependent and they need help and that’s, Not the case, we have some unbelievable kids um, who are so. You know so independent that they cannot only serve themselves, but they can serve their community and give back and so that’s the message that i’m trying to teach them and more than often they are willingly and jumping with joy, to try to help the next person in Line it’s super inspiring to see and what uh? What are your plans for the few i mean after this, you get some a little bit more notoriety.
How can you parlay this into helping the cause here in buffalo and what can bills fans do to jump on board with you yeah? You know i mean for the immediate plans. Obviously, we got to figure out this this virus stuff to, but we have some plans for working at the hub. The wesleyan church here uh right right in hamburg to do an event in march i’m, going to do another drive in up at the transit drive in, like i did during the season in april. My big football camp that we’re hoping to have you know 400 kids. At will be at our indoor facility in june. Again. All of this is assuming that uh we’re allowed to do this socially distance, which indoor facility that which indoor facility what’s that which indoors yeah the field house all right. The field house yeah sorry in our in our field, house, um and so that’s, some of the stuff that’s that’s happening um. Obviously in buffalo uh we’ll be working with the police department, the fire department, local animal rescues. I think at my camp this year. I want to have a bunch of dogs there that are rescue dogs and, if any of our playmaker, kids and families want one i’ll pay the adoption fee so that they can have uh. You know an animal, you know just just a bunch of stuff, but i think what uh maybe separates me from some of the other competition here for the walter payton man of the year and again, it’s already a blessing just to receive the honor, but it’s.
Not just like a one big thing, i did you know wasn’t, i a one million dollar donation to a children’s hospital or a big event that raised five hundred thousand dollars. I like to say that my heart, isn’t, biased and there’s, so many causes that i care about any good story, um that i hear about i want to. I want to give to if that’s o’shai’s children’s hospital, if that’s working with the va for the um, the veterans, you know spearheading that the charge to get 500 000 for the wi fi for the inner city schools. You know i have a lot of love to give and um i’m just super thankful for the community that we have up there. As you guys know, it is, it is truly special and then just – and you mentioned the drive in event that you did up at the transit drive in which you know you want to talk about a challenge uh. It was as big a challenge in playing football. This year, but then you think about all all these guys around the league, like yourself, who are trying to organize community type events. You know to raise money for your foundation or for whatever cause you represent, and i mean you want to talk about having to get creative um. You guys had to do it like to the umpteenth degree. So maybe walk me through the committee meetings that you had to kind of do on zoom, obviously, because you’re restricted you can’t, even be at your own events because of the protocols you have to follow at one bill’s drive.
Maybe just walk us through how much more challenging it was for you and your respective foundation committee to come up with answers and solutions to still do the kind of work you want to do. Yeah. You know. The first thing, i would say, is a a lot more people have my phone number now than i thought would you know, because i wanted to facetime this kid or this family for the holidays or these, these kids, who were at my camp. So a lot of people have my number. I get a couple random calls here and there from playmakers friends at school or whatever it is, but um yeah you had to get creative and when my transit, the driving thing i did um. We had that plan that i was gon na, be there and then the two days before my event is when the thing happened in oak or with the raiders, and they just they came out and said: no more communities, yeah enhanced protocols, right yeah, and so so We had a scramble last minute, but obviously technology makes this so amazing. I’M in tampa florida and we’re doing this interview right here. So um that’s been a blessing for us, but yeah you had to get creative. You had to find ways even for the holiday season. You know i wanted to do my big toy drive in person uh, but instead we had, you know i myself had to go um you know, purchase presents for my my playmaker, kids and had another person have to go drop them off at their door.
So i wasn’t able to be there to see them and meet and um how to be on zoom on a phone and yeah you had to get creative but um. You know we made it work and in an environment when, unfortunately, a lot of nonprofits and 501c3s. You know had to collapse or fold it in um, it’s, so sad to say they just didn’t have the funds to operate. This is a year that my organization actually grew and um the the money that i’ll receive from this walter payton man of the year nomination, is going to come right back in western new york and provide us um. You know so many things that we can do. I would love if the mvp um, you know the playmaker award at my camp i’d love if i could bring him and his family to the super bowl next year with some of the funds that have come from this and so the more money you bring in The more donations i get from western new york, the more unbelievable cool things that we can do and um it’s a blessing to be in this position. Well, we certainly congratulate you on all that’s going on we’ll be watching tonight to see if you indeed can win the national honor it’s saturday, saturday, yeah saturday and uh uh, and once again we appreciate it and bill’s mafia love. You we’re gon na talk to you about the season. It was a phenomenal year for us to watch.
Um, usually there’d be one or two times where you’d come in and sit with us in studio, um and even us. You know even us, being part of the bills thing we didn’t have. We couldn’t have any players on as guests or anything we were all between us right now. Right so talk to us a little bit about um what you guys. You know in the locker room when you guys are sitting there talking about how difficult and how different it is, you’re relating it to the rookies about, and they must know how, how odd it was as well and in the midst of all that you guys had A fantastic season, what what was the vibe about? What was the vibe like in the locker room towards the end of this season? As you were, headed deep into the playoffs yeah? Well, um, the the whole on a mission thing. It truly was the case i mean we really were had one goal in mind and that was to compete to win the super bowl, and so everyone’s got a saltiness to them. That we’re not all down here as a team right now um. But i think one of the things that hurt the most people probably don’t think about is it was so hard um being you, you know, you guys know when you’re part of a winning team that’s when it’s the most fun to be with the guys and be Hanging out and going to, you know, have dinner together as a unit or the defense or the offense or rookie dinners and all that stuff and unfortunately, in a year that we had our best season in a long time, we couldn’t even see one person outside of The building – and that was so hard because you know you’re at brad, you have a big win and hey.
What are we gon na do after the game? Oh i’m gon na go home and watch the sunday night game by myself like that was a really difficult part. It was challenging, and so i commend all of our our teammates and the people that we have in the building, because we were a close group with a lot of new faces, a lot of young faces and we still found you know our team identity and had Had team love for one another um without uh being able to have those fun moments outside the building so um those were some of the unique challenges that we had to come over this year and it you know. Hopefully, this is only gon na make us even stronger and tougher as a team. I know that uh, you know your season was an exercise in getting back to 100 or what you felt was. You know, 100 of your capabilities. After you know the knee surgeries you underwent in the off season, so when did you did you get to a point this season? Where you said you know what i i really start to feel like myself again. I know this wasn’t the first time you’ve been through a rehab like this, because you did this in college also, but was there? Was there a game or a week where you said you know what i’m finally feeling like myself again, you know the first time we played the patriots.
I think was the first time that i was in there and anchoring on hard double t. You know that kind of 21 personnel, 12 personnel full backs in the game that hard pounding um that was kind of the first time. I really felt better and i just kind of come off of the uh period, where i had some down time and didn’t play in a couple games, and you know as unfortunate as that was and devastating to to have that happen. Um. It was probably needed in terms of my body. I had been going a full year of rehab. You know i didn’t get a single weekend off from all the way back to january um and so uh. You know took those time off and then back to the patriots game, i i felt like i was really coming to myself and then um. You know down down the stretch there you’re just further removed from the injury and so i’m extremely optimistic about next season. You know i got ta recover still from this year, there’s still bumps and bruises and little things that um i’m still feeling in my body right now. But you know football season is a long way away and when i get back to there, i believe i’ll have the doctor’s blessings to take off the knee braces, which are also a big hindrance in your athletic ability, um and so i’m. Really hoping that i can, you know, prove to everybody on our team and our staff that i can be a major contributor to us just like i did down there in the stretch of the playoffs, the last one for me harrison.
I know it’s, probably very early in this process, but how optimistic or what information have you heard inside your circles about how much maybe back to normal this off season might be not just for you and your injury and your rehab and how different it would have Was going to be from last year, but also about the league wide? How deep does this go with more and more protocols and being socially distant, and all that? What are you guys looking forward to yeah? Well, you know our our president of the union came out with a pretty a pretty big statement. Um a little over a month ago. That said, hey, let’s, look at this year. We proved a lot. There was obviously some injury things that we still need to look at and get the data from, but we had high scoring football games, exciting football games. We had rookies make the pro bowl uh. First time, head. Coaches have success um the least amount of penalties in football least amount of missed tackles when you compare it to other years, which are huge things on coaches radar, saying if we don’t have otas or missed, tackles our fundamentals. Well, the numbers show that that actually wasn’t the case and so a president of our union came out and said you. We need to reevaluate what the offseason looks like all together um, we had zero tas in person this last year and we had a heck of a football season all around just you know the nfl league wide prove that they can kind of do this model.
So not only will i think the offseason look different because we still are going to obviously have to have some covid protocols this. You know the world isn’t completely going to be open in mid april, but also you know, there’s raised questions of how necessary are the full ota period. Could there be a four week period that people come back for and it’s shortened, or can we do this virtual model where people are proving that they’re working out and doing the ota meetings from from a different location? So these are a lot of things that the nfl and the nfl pa are going to go back. This would have to be an amendment to the cba, like we did last year when this stuff was at the forefront. So those are conversations that are going to be had, and i do think that this offseason is not going to look like a 2018 offseason. I think it’s going to be a hybrid between nothing at all and what a normal one would look like. So hopefully, that benefits not only the teams but also the players, health and safety all right harrison, listen thanks very much for the time we’ll be watching on saturday. So good luck. We hope your name’s, the one that’s uh in the envelope they open up, because we know that means good things, not only for you, but for all of your community efforts, because you said them a lot of that.
Money’S coming right back to western new york and if you ever have something you want to pump up and get the word out on we’re on radio and tv here, and not only buffalo, but rochester we’re more than happy to get the word out for you. So don’t hesitate to ring us up we’ll, be happy to promote anything. You got coming on uh in the future, here all right, yeah, absolutely and hey. What do we say next year, this time, we’re all down in la, i think super bowl, so let’s let’s try to do that. Oh i like that. Congrats good luck on saturday. Thank you guys appreciate. It have a good all right, that’s, harrison, phillips, bill’s defensive, tackle joining us here on one bills.