It’s hard for any new first-round quarterback to enter an NFL locker room and establish himself as a leader. After some offensive tweets from Josh Allen surfaced this week, that job became harder for him.
Buffalo Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, one of the team’s captains, addressed the issue in an interview with the Bills’ official radio program, via ESPN’s Mike Rodak. The Bills drafted Allen with the No. 7 overall pick on Thursday night, less than 24 hours after some inappropriate tweets from when Allen was in high school were discovered on his account, some of which had racial tones. Alexander said Allen will have to address the issue with his new teammates, either as a group or individually.
“What I’m gonna do is extend some grace and wait to get to know the kid and see how he develops,” Alexander said, via Rodak. “And that’s how you got to approach it.
“Now, everyone might not have that same approach. I would encourage every teammate in our locker room to do that, but he’s gonna have to at some point, whether he does it in front of the whole team or one-off. Somebody’s gonna ask him, ‘Why did you say that?’ or ‘Why were you quoting those words?’
“He’s gonna have to have a good answer. I’ve listened to a couple of interviews, and I think it’s gonna come from the heart and he’ll be fine. But he’s gonna maybe have to work a little bit harder to get respect from certain people in the locker room, but I don’t think it’s an issue, because that’s who he was and not who he is.”
Allen had to answer media questions about the tweets before the draft (and he talked to the Bills on the phone before the draft, too), and when he was introduced in Buffalo on Friday he had to answer more. This issue will follow him around for a while.
Josh Allen and Trumaine Edmunds sitting next to each other at Bills HQ. As Allen addresses tweets and says, "If I can go back and tell my 15 year old self not to do it, I would," Edmunds quietly nods his head. When asked, TE says, "When we're young, sometimes we make mistakes."
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) April 27, 2018
While this isn’t an issue Allen figured to be dealing with this week, it’s one he can’t hide from. Alexander sounded like he’s keeping an open mind, and that will help Allen as he moves forward. How Allen handles the situation with his new teammates will go a long way in determining how quickly he gets accepted as one of the team’s new quarterback of the future.
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