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Nickell Robey's weekly message: 'This is what y'all missed out on'

By Tim Graham

That chip on Nickell Robey's shoulder probably isn't going away any time soon.

The lone undrafted rookie to play for the Buffalo Bills on opening day recorded his first NFL interception Sunday and returned it for a touchdown against Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Robey doesn't sound like a guy who'll be content with that, not after the entire league passed him over in the draft because he supposedly was too small to play cornerback.

"It's all about sending a message," Robey told me Thursday at his locker. "Every game I want to show, 'This is what y'all missed out on. I'm here, and I'm here to stay.' "

He made his pro debut against New England Patriots superduperstar Tom Brady. Robey's next opponent features another first-ballot Hall of Famer: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Robey couldn't stop smiling about the challenge of playing against Brees.

"When you know that somebody is capable of changing a game at any time, you have to be excited about it," Robey said. "As a defensive player, I'm excited because I know he's going to throw the ball, and I know he's going to trust his receivers enough to make plays against me, and I trust myself enough to make plays against his receivers.

"My point in saying that is, I know there's going to be a lot of opportunities to get interceptions."

Robey is tied for second on the Bills with six pass breakups. He has made 12 tackles, including one for a loss.

Bills coach Doug Marrone on Wednesday reiterated a sentiment he expressed about Robey after Sunday's game.

"I see him as someone we expected more out of," Marrone said, explaining Robey's performances in training camp supported their hunch he could play in the NFL at 5 foot 8.

"That was why last week, when he made the play, I said, 'It's about time,' rather than, 'Here's a guy making plays!' He should've made one in the second half of the game also. He has that capability. So we just keep pushing him.

"Really, the one thing that stands out about him is he has instinct, just really good instinct and feel. ... He believes what he sees, and I think that's a great quality to have."


Doug Marrone | Nickell Robey
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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 |