Against all odds, dynamic safety duo of Poyer and Hyde are back with the Bills

There is no such thing as a sure bet, and for proof, there’s the reuniting of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer as the last line of defense for the Buffalo Bills in 2023.

As the 2022 regular season was winding down, it would have looked like easy money had you wagered on just one of the two returning to the team, and even if you gambled that neither would be back, you probably wouldn’t have been sweating too profusely.

Hyde missed all but two games with a serious neck injury that required surgery, and for a time it put the resumption of his football career in doubt. Poyer’s contract was expiring and heading into his age 32 season, speculation was that the Bills would thank him for six great years and let him test free agency.

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Instead, here we are with what has been one of the league’s best safety tandems running it back for at least another season together, something that gives both players joy.

“It’s just the way the universe works man; it’s truly a blessing,” Poyer said.

Bills safety Micah Hyde is back after missing almost all of the 2022 season with a neck injury.

Added Hyde, “It’s truly awesome to have Po come back. Through his whole contract situation he was letting me know what was going on, calling me up. We didn’t know what was going to go on. We see the same things every single day on the field off the field. I know I play my best game when he’s healthy.”

Hyde suffered his injury in the Bills’ Week 2 home opener against Tennessee and when you’re talking about neck surgery, yeah, end of career was certainly on his mind.

“When it first happened, and my teammates would be the first to tell you, I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be,” Hyde said with his family nearby the other day following practice at St. John Fisher University. “I thought I was done. So to be in this situation right now with my babies here, having my wife here, I can’t even put into words how amazing it is.”

After some dark days in October and November, Hyde began to see progress in his recovery and by December he was pestering his surgeon to let him resume practicing and playing. Had the Bills not lost to the Bengals, Hyde felt he might have been able to return for the AFC Championship Game, but that became a moot point.

“It probably worked out for the best,” he said of not coming back last year. “Now I’ve had a full recovery. I was able to sit out a couple more months and not have to be banging. It’s fully healed and I have no doubt in my mind when the pads come on I’ll be ready to start hitting. I’m not thinking about how my neck’s going to hold up. It’s cool.”

Bills safety Micah Hyde goes up for the ball during practice.

Bills safety Micah Hyde goes up for the ball during practice.

Which, of course, is great news for the Bills. Their defense had a solid 2022 season, but it clearly missed Hyde as players such as JaQuan Johnson and Damar Hamlin tried to fill in. After leading the NFL in fewest passing yards allowed per game in 2021, the Bills slipped to 16th in 2022.

Part of that was also because they were without cornerback Tre’Davious White until Thanksgiving, Poyer missed a few games because of injury and was never fully healthy, and the other cornerback spot was a never-ending rotation of Dane Jackson plus rookies Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford.

When the season ended, the Bills were feeling pretty good about Hyde being able to return for the final year of his contract, but they expected that Poyer would get signed by another team. To their surprise his market was not robust and they happily brought him back on a reasonably-priced two year, $12.5 million deal.

“It was kind of my first time going through free agency in the offseason and you know, it was pretty, pretty crazy,” Poyer said. “But I’m super thankful, super blessed to be here with the guys that I’ve been playing with for a long time, coaches that have been coaching me for a long time. I wouldn’t want it any other way. These are my guys. This is why I love to do it; I’m playing football with my guys.”

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When Sean McDermott took over as head coach in 2017, three of the building blocks in his new program were signing Hyde and Poyer in free agency and drafting White in the first round. Now they will go into their seventh season together which is a crazy long tenure for a threesome like that in the NFL.

However, assuming everyone stays healthy for the season opener in New York, it will be the first game they have been on the field together since White suffered his knee injury on Thanksgiving night 2021.

It came as a surprise that the Bills were able to re-sign free agent safety Jordan Poyer.

It came as a surprise that the Bills were able to re-sign free agent safety Jordan Poyer.

“It’s kind of surreal talking about all three of us together,” Poyer said. “It’s just cool to get that rhythm back going again. It almost seems like it never left. So it’s really fun to be around those guys again and playing football with those guys.”

McDermott, who is taking on the role of defensive coordinator this season, is certainly thrilled to have his two veterans back patrolling the deep secondary.

“We were kind of joking around talking the other day, I think I pointed out that Lorenzo (Alexander) was here and Lorenzo was one of the guys along with many others that helped us get this thing going a few years ago,” McDermott said. “Micah quickly pointed out after the fact that he and Jordan where here as well, and they feel like maybe I’ll be saying the same thing about them at some point, which is true.

“They’ve been big time catalysts for what we’ve done and the success that we’ve experienced. I’ll forever be indebted to those guys. They’re leaders on our football team because of the way that they’ve handled themselves. They’re passionate about football, they’re passionate about being the best that they can be on the field and off the field and it’s been a joy to watch them grow as men and how they’ve handled their families and life and home.”

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This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde back with Bills for seventh season

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