Ed Oliver’s arrest will test Bills’ culture

Photo of DT Ed Oliver from bleacherreport.com.

It took less than one sip of coffee to ruin Sunday morning for BillsMafia after waking up to the news that DT Ed Oliver was arrested Saturday night in the Houston area for driving while intoxicated and carrying a weapon in his car. While it’s understandable any 22 year-old is at risk for going overboard as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are lifted across the country with bars and restaurants opening up for the first time in months, Oliver obviously made the wrong choice by getting behind the wheel of his car after drinking alcohol and carrying a weapon.

The news must have made Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott cringe, especially because if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic players would be safely under the watchful eyes of their teammates and coaches going through OTAs and minicamp right now. This situation certainly flies in the face of the culture of accountability they are trying to build in Buffalo.

The incident in and of itself suggests a lack of maturity at best and a harbinger of bad things to come at worst for the talented defensive tackle. Of course people on social media jumped either immediately to his defense (boys will be boys) or called for the team to cut him or risk being hypocrites for preaching accountability (tweet wisely deleted).

It will definitely be interesting to see how the coaches and front office deal with the repercussions of Oliver’s arrest. I’m much more interested in how Oliver and the Bills handle this than passing judgement on Oliver’s bad choices. At this point, the most important thing is what Oliver learns from his severe lack of good judgment. We’ll never know how McBeane will handle the situation directly with Ed because that will never be made public.

Photo of DE Jerry Hughes from buffalobills.com.

One person I would hope and expect to immediately reach out to Ed is Jerry Hughes. Jerry lives in the Houston area and can serve as an important mentor for Ed right now. Obviously Ed could use a little advice from an older and wiser teammate who can help him understand exactly what he needs to do to be accountable to his teammates.

It’s one thing to deal with the consequences of bad behavior with your coach, general manager and owners… it’s quite another to own up to disappointing your teammates by putting the team in a bad situation should he have to miss time. How he responds to this situation will reveal volumes about his character.

We’ve been down this road before, most recently with DT Marcel Dareus and his antics resulting in his shuffling out of Buffalo… released by McBeane after they became frustrated with his lazy attitude and suspensions for violating the substance abuse policy. Now, in NO WAY am I comparing Ed Oliver to Marcel Dareus because they are totally dissimilar in temperament.

Photo of DT Marcel Dareus from ESPN.com.

My point is when bad things happened to Marcel, he chose to blame others and refused to take responsibility for his actions. Now Ed Oliver has a choice to make; make excuses or be accountable. We are going to see what kind of person Ed Oliver is… wise and learn from mistakes… or full of self-indulgent excuse-making.

We’re also going to see just how ‘resilient’ this locker room is. The Bills’ players now must help Ed by supporting him while holding him accountable. Who will be a leader on defense to do this? Jerry Hughes seems to mostly keep to himself. Tremaine Edmunds is a young Captain and might feel uncomfortable in that role. Micah Hyde is another older veteran who might be able to reach out and offer support on behalf of the locker room.

Josh Allen as quarterback will no doubt touch base, but he’s also a young captain who may not feel ready to take on that type of leadership issue. If the team is built on the inside as they purport, the players should be able to use this situation as a learning tool to prevent others from making similar mistakes.

Just when we thought this team was beyond these sorts of issues.

Editor’s babble: Sigh. Here’s hoping Ed didn’t contract COVID-19 in this process :) You might find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO… but I’m just as likely to be outside communing with nature.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BillsMafia.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @robynmundyWYO.

2 Replies to “Ed Oliver’s arrest will test Bills’ culture”

  1. Great article Robyn! The only issue I have is the point about Jerry Hughes…wasn’t he involved with one of Dareus’ transgressions, drag racing near the stadium? It’s possible Hughes has learned from his mistakes, and the big difference is there is now a much stronger locker room culture than there was under Marrone with Dareus.

    • Thanks, Norb! I forgot about Hughes’ little adventure w/Dareus. That might actually give him more credibility to speak with Ed Oliver about why it’s not a good idea to put yourself in vulnerable positions. He can speak from experience.