Sidney, 27, is a sixth-year NFL veteran who has played just five games the last two seasons. In 2001, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the season opener and missed the rest of the season. In 2002, he struggled to come back from the knee injury, missing the first four games. He played in the next three before breaking his left forearm against Cincinnati Oct 27. He missed eight of the next nine games after that.
Atlanta and Detroit were also interested in Sidney, but he chose Buffalo because of his prior relationship with head coach Gregg Williams, defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and safeties/third-down specialist coach Steve Jackson. Here's a quick Q&A with Sidney.
Mike Doser: Did you feel it was important for you to sign with a team whose coaches know your skills?
Dainon Sidney: Sure. They believed in my ability. There are other places I could have signed, but I felt comfortable here. I know they got good players here already, but I know what a difference good coaching can do for you … I (aim to rebuild) a foundation. Coming off last year, I really didn't play all too much. Coming into this year, knowing the coaches and them knowing me, as opposed to going to another team and not really knowing the coaches, well if things start getting shaky, and you don't know the coaches, then you don't know how it's going to turn out. Here, just being given the benefit of the doubt – yes everybody's got to perform, everybody's got to work – but just being given the benefit of the doubt, as opposed to not getting that, (that's important to me) … You can be the starter, but at what cost? If the team doesn't have a good season, and it's in a rebuilding frame of mind, then where do you fit in the fold? Here, I think playoffs, playoffs, Super Bowl. I'm not saying Detroit's not (in that frame of mind), but I just know what's expected from me here as opposed to starting all over again (with new coaches).
Doser: Could you have re-signed with Tennessee?
Sidney: It was out there, but as far as in your career, as far as getting stagnant, you worry about being typecast like an actor, so you have to step out. I think this is the best place for me to do that.
Doser: What was it like coming back from knee surgery? Willis McGahee is doing that right now.
Sidney: I think the biggest thing is getting out, moving around, cutting, jumping. Not that the leg is not strong, but I was dealing with the confidence factor. Once I got over the hurdle, it was fine … It was a clean reconstruction of the ACL. It's like going in and getting a tummy tuck. If you look around the league, about 30 percent of the guys have ACL (tears). I was looking at some of the college guys coming out. They'd had ACL surgery. It's no big deal.
Doser: ACL surgery seems so commonplace these days.
Sidney: As a matter of fact, a doctor at Tennessee allowed me to go watch an ACL surgery. I just wanted to see what the process was. It's a relatively short procedure. What they do is, well, it's not gruesome at all. It's amazing. I thought the ACL was like a spaghetti string. But it's the thickness of your finger. They cut a piece of the knee cap to drill it, so I've seen it and I really feel comfortable after that.
Doser: Do you feel you lost anything because of the ACL reconstruction?
Sidney: No. With the work and time I put into rehabbing, I didn't lose anything.