The Bad News Bills: Buffalo’s Unapologetic New Era
After being fired from the New York Jets at the end of last season, maverick coach Rex Ryan took over the Buffalo Bills — and immediately recruited a like-minded band of NFL misfits. With real talent and nothing left to lose, the Bills may actually be good this year (if they can survive the TMZ reports). Orgies! Beach brawls! Richie Incognito!
“It certainly is a collection of characters,” says former quarterback and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski. “But choirboys don’t win football games — you need some nasty SOBs.”
Rex Ryan, Coach
In January, Ryan accepted the head coaching job in Buffalo and immediately made a crucial strategic decision — to change the ink on his bicep tattoo from New York green to Buffalo blue. From running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, to donning a wig and impersonating his twin brother at press conferences to admitting to thoughts about poisoning Peyton Manning, Ryan is the team’s loose-cannon leader. “He’s P.T. Barnum,” Jaworski says, “the antithesis of Bill Belichick.”
LeSean McCoy, Running Back
After the Eagles traded “Shady” McCoy to the Bills in March, the star running back retreated to Vegas and Instagrammed photos of himself with bikini babes. Then, he posted invitations to a “females only” party requiring guests to submit a photo and sign a confidentiality agreement. After the media uproar, McCoy canceled the event, stating it was “no weird orgy.” “I did not get an invite,” Ryan later said. “I’m a little disappointed.”
Aaron Kromer, Offensive Line Coach
Do not cross offensive line coach Kromer when beach-chair access is on the line. In July, Kromer, 48, and his son fought three boys who used his family’s chairs on a beach in Walton County, Florida. The coach allegedly punched one of the boys in the face and threatened to kill his family if he reported him to the police, according to a sheriff’s report. Kromer was arrested and spent 90 minutes in jail; the Bills later suspended him for six games without pay.
Richie Incognito, Offensive Lineman
After his 2013 suspension for bullying Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin — using racial slurs and joking about raping Martin’s sister — Incognito joined the Bills. “There were a lot of things said and done that I wish I could change,” he said — and then immediately made headlines again for posing shirtless with tailgaters at a Kenny Chesney concert in May. “Just peed next to Richie Incognito,” a fan tweeted.
IK Enemkpali, Linebacker
In August, the 260-pound Jets linebacker broke starting quarterback Geno Smith’s jaw, allegedly over a debt involving a $600 plane ticket (putting Smith out of action for up to eight weeks). The next day, the Bills claimed Enemkpali off waivers — even though the linebacker could have faced criminal charges. “I feel confident that he’ll fit right in,” Ryan said.