Bills safety Jordan Poyer makes 12-year old fan’s day, creates memory for himself

Faculty at East Aurora High School received the call around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon. Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer, touched and impressed by a letter he received from 12-year-old sixth grader Logan Neri, wanted to stop by and surprise him…within an hour.

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And just in time, there was Poyer, who was also briefed on how Neri has at times struggled to fit in with his peers, pulling away to begin a visit that will be as memorable for him as it will be for Neri and everyone at school. .

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Bills safety Jordan Poyer received a letter Tuesday morning from East Aurora High School senior Logan Neri. After receiving the letter, Poyer filmed a video message for Neri. Then he decided to do one better. He showed up at his school to surprise her and secured tickets to Sunday’s game.

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Last month, through Austin Air, the school won an assembly with Bills players. An injury sustained in the previous game prevented Poyer from participating.

“I would have done anything to see Jordan Poyer,” Neri told director Matt Brown.

On Monday, Neri, with the help of his English teacher, Courtney Vitello, drafted and typed a letter to Poyer.

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“He sat down with me with all these ideas of ideas of what he wanted to say,” Vitello said. “He wanted Poyer to know he’s just as important as Josh Allen.”

Neri said that he “just wanted to let him know that he is my favorite player because of the way he plays. Poyer and mostly the defense, they don’t get a lot of credit.”

Parts of the letter included:

“I just want to thank you for thinking of coming to East Aurora High School during our assembly a few weeks ago. … I want you to know that I believe the struggles you go through are challenging, but you have made a difference in me and influenced my actions in recent months to continue to do my best and persevere. …

“You’ve made a difference because the way you play makes me want to play football as a linebacker or a D-lineman. You also show me how to be a good teammate and use good sportsmanship. I know you may not always be the center of attention, but in my opinion good sportsmanship puts you in the center of attention as well.

“The purpose of the letter is really to tell you how great you are and how you have affected my behavior and sportsmanship throughout sixth grade so far.

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Poyer was surprised by the letter’s thoroughness.

“Just to think that a kid here calls me a hero and some of the things he’s been through, I felt like it was a great opportunity to try and influence as much as I can, show him in a positive light ,” he told The Buffalo. News. “His letter was very, very detailed and very organized, and I had to read it twice because it didn’t sound like it was coming from a sixth grader.”

Vitello said Neri didn’t want the letter to be “super long. We just took his ideas and he’s just such a beautiful writer, he had the vocabulary and it was all his ideas. I just helped organize it and see where he wanted to go with it.”

The school sent the letter to Avalon Sports, which handles Poyer’s off-field marketing.

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Poyer recorded an inspirational video for Neri, but the surprises were just beginning. He made the 20-minute drive from the Bills’ facility in East Aurora and was greeted by Brown and assistant manager Matt Librock. The original plan was to take Neri to Brown’s office, where Poyer would present an autographed game-worn No. 21 jersey.

“Let’s go down and get it,” he told Brown and Librock.

They went outside the boys’ locker room, where Neri was after a swimming class. As Neri walked out the door, he yelled, “Jordan Poyer?! Oh my God! Let’s go!” and rushed into Poyer’s arms.

“That was great,” Poyer said later. “You can’t really explain those feelings when he sees you for the first time and jumps into your arms.”

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After returning to Brown’s office, Poyer presented Neri with the jersey and asked Neri to sign a copy of his letter (“I’ll get this framed,” Poyer said). They sat at a conference table and spent time talking about games, football, family and life.

Poyer invited Neri and his family — parents, brother (age 13) and sisters (ages 9 and 6) to the Bills’ Jan. 8 home opener against the New England Patriots. (“I’ve never been in an actual stadium,” Neri said.)

The conversation flowed freely, the 12-year-old as comfortable as someone twice his age meeting Poyer for the first time.

“Life is full of adversity,” Poyer told Ner. “You just have to learn how to deal with it and keep going. What matters is what is in your heart. Don’t worry about what anyone says about you. You have a great group of people here supporting you.”

Vitello was among those watching at the entrance to Brown’s office.

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“I started to cry. I had to leave for a moment,” she said, taking a break from supervising a study hall. “I was very happy for Logan. He is a child who needed this. To see someone like Poyer make that connection and watch it unfold was incredible. I’ve never seen Logan smile so much. He is usually the kid who can crack jokes and make people laugh. To see his eyes light up just made my day.”

The meeting was over. Again, however, Poyer had another idea.

Poyer walked Neri, who said he will wear the jersey while watching the Bills’ games that begin Sunday against the New York Jets, back up to the band’s class (he blows the horn). The students’ jaws dropped as Poyer introduced himself and explained to the teacher why Neri was late.

There was a point to that.

“I wanted them to see that,” Poyer said. “I wanted his peers to see him with me. He’s going through a lot, so being able to influence him in any positive way can hopefully help him and start to steer him in the right direction. I hope it happens.”

The memory ultra fresh in her mind, Vitello is sure she will.

“It gives Logan a confidence boost, for sure,” she said. “He just needed that little push. I can see him taking everything Poyer told him and continuing to do his best going forward.”


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