Mario Addison has had to work through tragedy the past few years

The Bills defensive end feels he's in a better place now

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – Mario Addison didn’t have the season he was hoping for last year. Not only was there a pandemic, but the Buffalo Bills defensive end had a heavy heart.

In November on 2019, Addison’s brother, Gjamal Antonio Rodriqcus was shot and killed in Birmingham, Alabama. Grieving is such an individual thing, and there’s no handbook for it. Addison was still working through his emotions last season, but is in a better place this year.

“Last year, my mental part wasn’t all the way there," Addison said following Tuesday's practice session in Orchard Park. "The year before, my baby brother got killed and it was heavy on me. Let’s be honest, my mind was on football, but it wasn’t on football. I was letting it control me.”

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Addison tried to bottle his feelings up inside as best as he could.

“A lot of people didn’t know that it was heavy on me, but this year, like they say, 'Time heels wounds,'" the veteran pass rusher said. "I mean, you will never get over it, but you’ve got to learn to live with it.”

Many thought Addison would be upset that Buffalo’s first two picks in April were defensive ends Greg Rousseau and Carlos "Boogie" Basham. In reality, it was the exact opposite.

“It’s amazing," Addison said. "I don’t want to play 50 snaps a game, and these guys can play as well.”

Addison spoke to the two rookies as soon as they were drafted. He’s been around this league for many years, and he knows how to get young players ready.

“Some guys like veteran guys to lead by example, and some would like for you to talk to them," Addison explained. "I do them both, because you don’t know how they’re going to take it.”

Almost every single player that we’ve spoken with in training camp seems very happy that we’re doing these interviews in-person instead of by Zoom. Addison, who has a great personality, is no different.

“In all honesty, it feels good to be in front of you guys," Addison said. "When we were doing everything virtually, it was different. Even when I was doing these, I barely could hear you guys, but to be back in front of everybody, I’m loving it.”

A.J. Epenesa stayed in Orchard Park to work with the Bills' strength coaches during the offseason, and by all accounts has made huge strides from last year. You know who has noticed a difference? Addison has.

“A.J’s ready. Hands down, A.J’s ready. He did good last year, but the things he’s doing now,” Addison said shaking his head in amazement of the second-year defensive end. "Watch out for A.J."

In seven-plus season with the Carolina Panthers, Addison rolled up four-straight stellar seasons where he recorded 9.5, 11, 9 and 9.5 sacks respectively. In 111 games with Carolina, Addison had 55 sacks.

Addison has 60 sacks in 140 career games, including five in 15 games with the Bills last season.

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