The Reggie Gilliam Story: Undrafted Underdog Signs $5M Extension
Reggie Gilliam has been a fan-favourite for just about as long as we’ve known him. He finally got to put his pen to paper on his first NFL extension. The Buffalo Bills fullback of the past two seasons wasn’t always on the fast track to NFL stardom though.
High School Halfback
At Westland High School in Galloway, Ohio, Reggie Gilliam was a force to be reckoned with. Primarily a running back at the time, his physical play put him on the map. It was the only thing that put him on the map, as he didn’t get involved in recruiting for college until very late. Still, he received interest from Toledo and, after one visit, he was hooked.
Reggie Gilliam: A Toledo Rocket
He enrolled, got in, and attended, but didn’t play. After waiting until his second year to walk on to the team, Gilliam did everything he could to stay there. He immediately impressed, both on the field and the sidelines.
“He is probably the physically toughest kid I’ve ever been around. He’s also one of the hardest-playing guys I’ve ever seen. Honestly, he’s just one of the best people I’ve ever been around.”Rockets st and te coach Robby Discher, per Utrockets.com
It wasn’t long until he was told he would be playing tight end. The position switch came as a surprise, but he took it in stride. Reggie Gilliam made it work, blocking plenty of kicks as a special teams contributor and fitting in wherever he could. He started every game in his senior year before declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft.
His name was never called. Now an undrafted free agent (UDFA), he had to put his career in his own hands once again. He’d had some contact with the Buffalo Bills prior to the draft, and when they called with a contract he sprung into action.
“I thought they might draft me but it didn’t work out that way. I’m going there either way so I’m happy.”Gilliam on Signing With the bills in 2020, per UTROCKETS.com
He had a severe uphill battle to make the roster. The Buffalo Bills already had a veteran starter at the position in Pat DiMarco, who was also a team captain. After a solid camp and preseason in 2020, the roster was being trimmed. He’d been switched to tight end again, and would be at the bottom of a relatively deep group. Still, his fullback experience and special teams work made him versatile, and that’s what Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane value consistently above all else.
Buffalo Bills Extend Reggie Gilliam
It’s what got him on the team that season. He was officially a TE, but he played in a few roles as a rookie. Reggie caught a touchdown early against the Miami Dolphins on his first career reception. In 2021, he had to make the team again and did so, officially a fullback once more.
That brings us to Sunday August 7th, 2022. The Buffalo Bills signed our beloved fullback to a two-year extension worth up to $5.2 million.
This essentially guarantees another three years on the roster for the former UDFA, who beat all the odds to make it to the NFL, and beat them again to stick around. Congratulations, Reggie. You’ve earned every penny.
“Fullbacks Matter. You heard it here first. Fullbacks Matter.”Reggie Gilliam on The Rico Report, A Buffalo Fanatics Exclusive
Featured Image: Sports Illustrated