Knox: Rejoining Bills has eased healing process

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Preparations are in full swing for the Buffalo Bills’ season opener against the Rams on Thursday night in Los Angeles. For tight end Dawson Knox, it’s been a healthy outlet after his younger brother, Luke, a linebacker at Florida International, died last month.

“Just getting back up here, getting in the routine, seeing all my teammates, seeing my coaches, definitely from a distraction standpoint it’s great, too,” Knox said Monday in his first comments since Luke died. “But it’s also very therapeutic just doing what I love with the guys that I love. I know that my brother would want it that way, too. He wants me to give everything I got. I know he is gonna be watching somehow, someway, so yeah, it’s definitely been great being back up here, getting back with all the guys.”

Luke Knox died Aug. 17, at the age of 22. He had spent the past four seasons at Ole Miss before transferring to FIU. His cause of death hasn’t been announced; the university said at the time that police didn’t suspect foul play.

FIU honored Knox with a moment of silence at its season opener against Bryant on Thursday, and each Panthers player wore a helmet decal with his No. 16. His teammates also brought out his jersey for the pregame coin flip.

The Bills also held a moment of silence for Knox prior to their second preseason game against the Denver Broncos last month. Multiple players, including linebacker Tyrel Dodson and tight end Tommy Sweeney, wore a T-shirt that had the phrase “Long Live Luke” on it.

Dawson Knox spent time away from the Bills after his brother’s death, but was back on the field Aug. 23. Knox said when he returned to Buffalo, he realized for the first time that the city really feels like a second home to him.

“[I] really felt a lot of love and support over the last few weeks with my brother, my family has been very thankful, and just everybody in Buffalo has been incredible,” Knox said. “The amount of texts I’ve gotten, the messages, the posts. The moment of silence for the preseason game. It’s just been everything that I expected out of Buffalo and more because this city’s incredible, it’s meant the world to me.”

Knox said Bills fans and others have raised over $200,000 in Luke Knox’s name to the P.U.N.T. Pediatric Cancer Collaborative, a public charity in Western New York with whom the Bills tight end has worked closely. Some of it came in increments of $16.88, the brothers’ numbers combined. More than $100,000 was raised in about the first day after the news of Knox’s death.

“As Luke and Dawson’s parents, we want to thank Buffalo and Bills Mafia everywhere for the incredible outpouring of support and love shown to our family,” David and Rachel Knox said in a statement via P.U.N.T. “Never would we have imagined dealing with something this hard but knowing these gifts in Luke’s honor will help so many hurting families truly blesses us.”

Knox said he wasn’t surprised to see the outpouring of support because of the “incredible city with such an incredible fan base and people.”

Knox is in the final year of his contract after a career-high nine touchdowns and 49 receptions in 2021. But he hasn’t been shy about letting it be known about where he would like to be long-term.

“I love all the people in Buffalo,” Knox said, “and hopefully I’ll be here for a long time.”

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