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Gable Steveson Makes First Comments on Bills Signing, NFL Future

Olympic gold medalist and former WWE wrestler Gable Steveson discusses his dream of making an NFL roster with the Buffalo Bills.

Gable Steveson isn’t shying away from the “impossible” task of trying to make an NFL roster after signing a three-year contract with the Buffalo Bills.

Steveson won a wrestling gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics amid a decorated college career at the University of Minnesota that included a pair of national championships. He spent the past three years under contract with WWE.

The 24-year-old Indiana native has never played organized football, however, and now he’s lining up alongside defensive linemen like future Hall of Famer Von Miller. The Bills are betting his elite athletic acumen eventually translates to NFL success.

Gable Steveson Comments On Quest To Make Bills Roster

Steveson is an extreme long shot to make Buffalo’s crowded 53-man roster in 2024. He’d need to make remarkable progress over the next couple of months. It’d have to reach a point where general manager Brandon Beane is worried about losing him to another team if he’s transferred to the practice squad.

Nevertheless, the 6’1”, 265-pound wrestling standout is no stranger to overcoming the odds.

“Do the impossible,” Steveson told reporters Tuesday. “I mean, I won the Olympics in 2020 off a last-second takedown. That’s near impossible. But to win the Olympics, it’s not impossible. But in that instance, you want to be the best that you can. I want to come to a new field and be the best that I can.”

He was spotted during organized team activities (OTAs) getting intense instruction from Bills head coach Sean McDermott, one of the league’s foremost defensive minds.

Steveson explained taking on the unique challenge goes beyond himself.

“It’s not about just joining a football team,” he said. “It’s about making it through and being a product that people can look at and be, ‘Hey, this guy has never played football in his life and he made it.’ Kids are going to look at that and be like, ‘Wow, I can be something with myself.'”

Steveson Always Wanted To Play Football

Although his recent offseason practices with the Bills marked the wrestling sensation’s first true football experience, it’s something he’s wanted to do for a long time.

“I’ve always wanted to play football, but in high school, my mom always said no, she was scared. But I said, I’m like, ‘Mom, you put me in the hardest sport, wrestling, and you’re going to tell me I can’t play football?'” Steveson said. “So when this opportunity arose, she was ‘This is all you. You’re a grown man now. Go ahead and do it.’ This is definitely a unique situation. But man, I’m so grateful to be here.”

Now the hard work begins. His athleticism may stand out during mandatory minicamp, which runs through Thursday, and training camp. Trying to learn technique on the fly so he can actually make plays against experienced offensive linemen will be an uphill battle, though.

Bills D-Line Group Won’t Be Easy To Crack

The Bills have six defensive ends battling for four or five roster spots: Miller, Greg Rousseau, A.J. Epenesa, Dawuane Smoot, Casey Toohill, and rookie Javon Solomon. At defensive tackle, Steveson’s listed position, the franchise also has ample depth: Ed Oliver, DaQuan Jones, Austin Johnson, DeShawn Williams and rookie DeWayne Carter.

Another veteran, perhaps Kingsley Jonathan or Kameron Cline, could play well enough to enter the conversation. Buffalo has enough cap space to make another depth signing. Injuries could also shake up the depth chart along the defensive front. So things can change.

Steveson would still need to make an incredible impression to climb the ladder. His untapped potential is intriguing, but it takes far more than that to make the final squad.

For his part, the newly signed prospect isn’t worried about the fight for a spot on the depth chart.

“If you’re looking all the way to September, you’re not going to get far because you’re looking for the future. I’m looking for the present,” Steveson said Tuesday. “Give it my all. I’ve said it, man, a couple of times, there’s really nothing else to do. We decided to play. I’m excited for this new adventure. I want to give Buffalo my everything. I know the fans out there are going to care about this moment, and all the wrestling fans are going to care about this moment, and I just want to be that person that, hey, here’s a guy who’s never done it and he’s going to do it. I believe in myself.”

Where Does Steveson Land In 2024?

If Steveson is on the field for Buffalo’s Week 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals in September he’ll have pulled off one of the greatest feats in NFL history.

He’ll probably spend the entire 2024 season on the Bills practice squad. It’ll be a chance for him to continue learning from the likes of McDermott and defensive coordinator Bobby Babich without the immense pressure of having to make key plays on Sundays.

The Bills are focused on the big picture here. This wasn’t a signing for this year or even 2025. Perhaps the former wrestler can emerge as a depth player by 2026.

That said, Steveson has beaten the odds before. Now he’ll try to do it again in Buffalo.

Main Photo: Jamie Germano/Democrat and Chronicle-USA TODAY NETWORK


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