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Eric Wood trying to soak up all he can from Kevin Mawae

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- Kevin Mawae sits behind Eric Wood when the offensive linemen hold their meetings. Mawae also runs drills and teaches techniques from a 16-year NFL career that sent him to eight Pro Bowls.

You better believe Wood listens to every word Mawae has to say as if it's gospel.

"Some stuff that worked for him might not work for me," Wood said, "but I'm going to give it a try because he was an unbelievable player.

"I looked up to him as a young player and through college. To have him around is awesome."

Mawae joined the Bills' coaching staff Monday and will stay through training camp as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship program.

Mawae played four years with the Seattle Seahawks before establishing himself as the NFL's premier center with the New York Jets, his team for six straight Pro Bowls. He played his final four seasons with the Tennessee Titans.

Wood's first NFL season was Mawae's last, but their intersection left an impression on the rookie. The Titans beat the Bills, 41-17.

"He was crafty towards the end of his career, where he's not blowing people off the ball anymore," Wood said when asked what he admired about watching Mawae. "He wasn't maybe as dominant physically, but he got extremely crafty.

"He had the best trap move ever. We always watched him trap people my rookie year. Then we put one of our offensive linemen in on goal line my rookie year, and he trapped the offensive lineman. We all joked about it for the rest of the year."

What made Mawae's trap move so spectacular?

"You have to sell out for the trap move because you're giving up your chest to show him, and then you step back and you drop" on top of the defender, Wood said. "Just confidence in it.

"I'd rather take my chances at this point in my career being able to muscle a guy up, but that trap move can really catch you off guard and get the D-linemen maybe not firing off as hard next time."

Also working with the Bills' linemen through the Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship is Jamar Nesbit, who played 11 NFL seasons as an interior lineman for the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints.

Nesbit and Mawae have connections to Bills head coach Doug Marrone, who was Jets O-line coach when Mawae was there and Saints offensive coordinator when Nesbit was there.

"If they can give you a couple tricks, a couple tools that you can store away and use later," Wood said, "that'll be valuable for all of us."


Doug Marrone | Eric Wood | Kevin Mawae
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |