Cyrus Kouandjio is working to crack the starting lineup of the Buffalo Bills as a rookie after earning consensus All-American honors in his final season at Alabama. Kouandjio was playing for the Crimson Tide, instead of Auburn, because God told him to, he said in an interview this week.
During an ESPNU telecast on National Signing Day in 2011, Kouandjio announced he would attend Auburn. But he did not sign a national letter of intent with the Tigers. Instead, he signed with Alabama a few days later.
In an interview with the web site Saturday Down South, Kouandjio discussed how he came to his decision to attend Alabama, where his brother, Arie Kouandjio, was a member of the team: “I was a young kid with cameras all in my face. I remember thinking, ‘Hey, I think I’ll go to Auburn,’ but I had no idea where I really wanted to go. I figured I’d just say that and pick up the pieces later on. And I decided before then that I’m not going to sign anything anyway until I’m sure. After that, we had a family meeting, and my dad said I needed to make a decision and sign one and let it go. It was that family meeting that we decided to do that, and that I was going to stick to that decision. Right as I was going to sleep, I saw something from my religious leader, from God, that told me, ‘Cyrus, you should go to Alabama.’ I followed that and signed, and it took me to two national championships. The other choice would have taken me to a different path.”
At the time of his signing, Cyrus Kouandjio posted on his Facebook page: “Thanks for all the love and support from the state of Alabama. Love all the new relationships i have made throughout this process. . but at the end of the day. . ima keep the fam together and i must say. . . . ROOLLLLL TTIIIDDDEEE!!!”
The Bills completed their schedule of nine OTAs on Thursday. Kouandjio also participated in rookie minicamp with Buffalo after being selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft on May 9. The Bills will hold mandatory minicamp on Tuesday through Thursday. Buffalo starts training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, N.Y., on July 20.
Kouandjio has lined up mainly as the right tackle on Buffalo’s second-team offense during OTAs, but has gotten some first-team reps in place of Erik Pears.
“It’s not a hobby anymore,” Kouandjio said. “This is my job. I love my job. I have a smile on my face. I love it. I’ve been doing it for so long, and now I’ll be doing it for income, for my livelihood. It’s a blessing. It really is.”