Thursday, September 22, 2022

Bills re-sign Josh Allen’s best friend, veteran WR Returns

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A familiar face is returning to the Buffalo Bills practice team after running back Raheem Blackshear was poached by the Carolina Panthers Wednesday, Sept. 21, according to the NFL’s Transaction Report. While the Bills’ breakout rookie will be missed from last season, he opened up a spot for wide receiver Tanner Gentry’s return.

Gentry was initially dropped from the training squad last week. Buffalo released the 27-year-old receiver to put Prince Emili on the defensive after starter Ed Oliver suffered an ankle injury in the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams.

While Gentry has never played a snap on the Bills’ active roster since joining the practice squad in January 2021, he has been a key mainstay for quarterback Josh Allen. The veteran receiver has been best friends with Allen since they were teammates in Wyoming, and Allen’s longtime friend Brittany Williams is close friends with Gentry’s wife Kaytlyn.

Though her husband wasn’t officially part of the team when the Bills rolled over the Titans 41-7 in Week 2, Kaytlyn joined Brittany to cheer on Allen and the team at Highmark Stadium Monday night soccer. On Wednesday, Ms Gentry shared a photo of the duo on Instagram and wrote: “We won big on Monday night but we win even more for getting to live this crazy life together! I love you little one 🫶🏼.”

Gentry was also in attendance to watch the Bills win their first Monday night soccer Played at home since 1994. While some players may feel insulted after being cut, Gentry appears to be a member of the Bills Mafia whether on the team or not. In photos Kaytlyn shared on Instagram, Gentry can be seen boarding a Bills-themed tour bus after arriving in Highmark.

Next, the Bills will take on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Stadium.

Gentry is highly unlikely to make it onto the 53-man roster this season given the Bills’ serious depth in the receivers’ space, but he seems comfortable with his role on the team. Back in March 2021, Buffalo Fanatics 6-foot-2 receiver Mitch Broder openly admitted that Allen was a big part of him even getting the chance to play in Buffalo.

“I know Josh had a little bit to do with it,” Gentry said. “The fact that they hired me and gave me a chance to even get me out the door and show what I can do means the world to me and I’m ready to make the best of it.”

In July 2022, Gentry shared a similar sentiment on Instagram. He captioned a photo from training camp: “Grateful to play this game and to everyone who helped me get here. Year 5.”

Gentry and his wife also put down lasting roots in Buffalo, purchasing a $235,000 home near the stadium in Orchard Park in April 2022.

Gentry earned a D-1 scholarship to Wyoming and would go on to become the Cowboys’ top receiver his junior year. After seven games in which he recorded 37 receptions for 678 yards and four touchdowns, he suffered an AC joint split resulting from the impact of a cornerback falling on him.

When Gentry scored IR, another player was also recovering from an injury – Allen. “That’s where we came closest,” Gentry told Broder. “We were both down… we were just trying to stick together… in the off-season we became very close and started to pin the work together.”

The 2016 season was phenomenal for both players. During Gentry’s senior year, he caught 72 passes for 1,326 yards and 14 touchdowns while Allen threw for 3,203 yards and 28 touchdowns, completing 209 of his 373 pass attempts.

Gentry initially signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears in 2017, and although he showed a serious spark in the preseason, rushing for 70 yards and a touchdown, he ended up on the practice team. After appearing in four NFL games in which he totaled three catches for 35 yards, the Bears waived him in 2019.

The Mountain West second-team all-conference receiver then tried his luck with the XFL and was selected by the New York Guardians. However, Gentry was placed on injured reserve before the start of the season and then COVID-19 shut down all league operations in April 2020.

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