Nothing has changed for Bills’ Jake Kumerow after 8 NFL seasons; he’s still fighting for a spot (2024)

Orchard Park, N.Y. — Not much has changed for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Jake Kumerow since he entered the NFL as undrafted free agent back in 2018.

He’s still fighting for a roster spot.

Kumerow had stints with the Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers during his first six seasons. The majority of that time was spent on practice squads. He finally got a break with the Packers in 2018 and played 19 games over the next two seasons.

Aaron Rodgers called Kumerow the Packers’ second-best receiver in training camp in 2019 and was upset when Green Bay cut him. The Bills picked him up three days later, and he’s split his time between the practice squad and active roster over the past two seasons. He also had a strange detour in New Orleans back in December of 2020. The Saints plucked him off Buffalo’s practice squad and released a month later. The Bills brought him back and he’s been in Buffalo ever since.

It’s been a hectic tour through eight NFL seasons. He’s never been comfortable and he’s always trying to prove he belongs. Kumerow appeared in 15 games last season and earned praise for his work on special teams - he played the seventh-most special teams snaps (264) last year.

Nothing has changed for Kumerow nine years after his first training camp.

“I feel like I’m in somewhat of a similar position every year trying to make sure I secure a spot,” he said on Monday, one day before final cuts are due to the league. “It really just comes down to your effort at practice to me. If you’re a guy that can come every day and be consistent with your effort, then that’s all you can control. You can’t control what plays they call for you or how many catches you had. Just what do you do when your opportunity is called. Go hard, that’s it.”

Kumerow’s role seems to still be in play for the 30-year-old, but former sixth-round draft pick Isaiah Hodgins has emerged as serious competition for the team’s sixth receiver position. How has Kumerow approached his competition against Hodgins? He hasn’t thought much about it. To him, Hodgins isn’t who he’s competing against anyway.

“I compete with the defensive backs,” Hodgins said. “I don’t care, me and him are boys. We help each other out with plays, ask each other questions, study - we do our thing, get treatments, the whole nine. That’s far from who I’m competing with.”

Hodgins has had trouble staying healthy during his first two seasons, but he’s shined during camp and arguably outplayed Kumerow this summer.

Hodgins even played a bunch of special teams snaps during the preseason. Will it be enough to edge out Kumerow? There’s no way to know just yet, but Kumerow has already done it and has grown to love it. The Bills prioritize core special teams players, too.

“If they need you on teams you’re gonna have to do it. And you’re gonna have to do it good, too,” he said. “You can’t just be out there jogging around. You have to give good effort. That’s what special teams is all about. ... It’s a good group to be with so I like being on teams. It makes it a lot of fun.”

Kumerow is hoping that everything he’s put on tape during practices and the games is enough to earn him a spot. He loves it in Buffalo, he said. He’s become a better player since he arrived and he’s hoping to keep it going.

“It’s gotten me better as a teammate, it’s gotten me better at special teams, and it just broadens your tool box,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that guys on different teams can help you get better at. There’s a lot of guys on this team that I learn from. I like to be very observant, watching guys on offense, watching who’s successful and why. And try and steal little tidbits from each guy.”

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Nothing has changed for Bills’ Jake Kumerow after 8 NFL seasons; he’s still fighting for a spot (2024)
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