|by David Hood|
Once Spiller’s round of questioning had ended, the Bills brought in quarterback E.J. Manuel and as Manuel ascended the podium many of the Clemson media began to follow Spiller out of the room, drawing a perplexed stare from Manuel.
At that point, Spiller couldn’t resist a mild jab at his teammate.
“You see all that orange in here? They are here from Clemson,” Spiller said in passing to Manuel. “They don’t want to interview a Florida St. quarterback.”
Spiller carried the ball three times for 22 yards in Buffalo’s 20-18 victory over the Panthers, leaving after a few drives in the first quarter. Former Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins caught three passes for 21 yards, while former Clemson safety Jonathan Meeks capped a solid night by sealing the win with an interception in the closing minute of the game.
They did so in front of a solid orange crowd in Charlotte, and Spiller told TigerNet that playing in Charlotte in front of so many Clemson fans was something he had been looking forward to.
“I have been waiting on this moment. It felt good to come back and see the Clemson family and all of the orange in the stands,” Spiller said. “It was good to see the reception that all of the Clemson players received. It was good to see them out there.”
Spiller then said that when he first committed to Clemson, he didn’t realize that a lifelong love affair would follow.
“When you commit to a school, you commit for forever,” Spiller said. “To see the warm reception that I get when I go back there, and then the warm reception that I got when I came out tonight, that means a lot. You never know how many lives you can impact.
“I just committed there to play football and then to have a chance to play at this level. Once I got there, those fans welcomed me with open arms and they treated me like I was their own son. To see the reception that you continue to get when you go back means a lot to not only me but my whole family.”
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had a big effect on Spiller’s life, and the two remain close.
“He taught me how to be a man,” Spiller said. “When I went to Clemson I was a young man, but when I left Clemson I was a young adult. The values that he taught me and he taught me about the company that you keep. I went to Clemson with a daughter, so to see how he treated his sons and to see how the other coaches treated all of their kids, that taught me how I want to raise my daughter.”
David Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org