Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Buffalo Bills TE Dawson Knox seeks to glorify God amid breakout season

After Sunday night’s dominating 38-20 win on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills are now 4-1 on the season and have a two-game lead in the AFC East.

The Bills dropped their first game of the season at home to Pittsburgh but have now reeled off four consecutive blowout wins. They’ve averaged 39.0 points per game during the streak and recorded two shutouts against the Dolphins and Texans.

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One of the many bright spots for a team that made the AFC Championship Game last January (before being eliminated by the Chiefs) has been the play of third-year tight end Dawson Knox. He’s snagged 18 receptions for 261 yards and five touchdowns on the year. His five scores are the most for any tight end this season, are tied for second in the entire NFL (behind only Chargers receiver Mike Williams’ six TDs) and equals his regular-season scoring production from his first two years combined. Knox’s five scores have all come during Buffalo’s four-game winning streak.

His 53-yard touchdown against Kansas City on Sunday night was the longest reception of his NFL career.

“Thankfully, [quarterback Josh Allen] saw me, and he’s on the run throwing the ball I’m sure it was 50 yards just on a dot, like it was a perfect throw,” Knox said after the game. “The whole time it’s in the air I’m just like, ‘I gotta catch it, gotta catch it, gotta catch it.'”

Now in his third year, Knox said his familiarity with the offense in Buffalo and his increasing comfort with Allen have made his trips to the end zone a weekly occurrence. Yet although his touchdowns may be coming in bunches this fall at the sport’s highest level, Knox knows what it’s like to go a whole season, and indeed a whole college career, without ever hitting pay dirt.

Knox arrived at Ole Miss without a scholarship, but eventually joined the team as a walk-on fullback in 2015. He finally saw the field, albeit sparingly, in 2016, and by the next year he was Ole Miss’s starting tight end. He played well enough during the next two seasons (605 receiving yards) to be invited to the combine and get drafted by the Bills in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but not once throughout his time in Oxford did he find his way to the end zone.

In the third game of his NFL career in 2019, Knox snapped his scoreless drought dating back to his junior year of high school with a touchdown. Then he finished off his day with a crucial fourth-quarter catch and run that set the Bills up for a go-ahead score.

“When plays like that happen it just comes down to instinct,” Knox said after that game, according to the Western Journal. “You don’t think a whole lot, it just happens. I just want to give the glory to God because I worked hard to get here but I wouldn’t be here without Him.”

Knox, now 24, isn’t shy about sharing his faith on his social media accounts. He mentions the Bible verse Isaiah 40:31 in his Instagram and Twitter bios, and the verse says, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Knox’s charity work and commitment to Christ have begun to inspire young fans around the country. Last year according to The Buffalo News, Briggs Self of Nashville decided to ask his friends to raise money for Knox’s favorite charity, the P.U.N.T. Foundation, instead of buying him gifts for his eighth birthday. The fundraiser succeeded, and Knox even surprised Briggs at the party.

“I want to be like Dawson when I grow up,” Briggs told The Buffalo News, “not because he is a football player but because he is so nice and he is actually changing the world and loves Jesus.”

Now, as Knox tries to build on his breakout season, the Bills will seek their fifth win in a row next week in Tennessee on Monday Night Football. The game is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET.

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