ORCHARD PARK, NY — Preparations are in full swing for the Buffalo Bills’ season opener against the Rams on Thursday night in Los Angeles. For a tight finish Dawson Knoxit was a healthy outlet after his younger brother, Luke, a linebacker at Florida International, died last month.
“Just getting back here, getting into the routine, seeing all my teammates, seeing my coaches, definitely from a recreational standpoint it’s great, too,” Knox said Monday in his first comments since Luke’s death. “But it’s also very therapeutic just to do what I love with the guys I love. I know my brother would want it that way too. He wants me to give everything I’ve got. I know he’ll be watching somehow, somehow. , so yeah, it was definitely great to be back here, to be back with all the guys.”
Luke Knox died on August 17, at the age of 22. He spent the past four seasons at Ole Miss before transferring to FIU. His cause of death was not announced; the university said at the time that police did not suspect foul play.
FIU honored Knox with a moment of silence at its season opener against Bryant on Thursday, and every Panthers player wore a helmet picture with his No. 16. His teammates also brought out their jerseys for the pregame coin toss.
The Bills also held a moment of silence for Knox before their second preseason game against the Denver Broncos last month. Multiple players, including linebacker Tyrell Dodson and a tense ending Tommy Sweeneywore a T-shirt that had the phrase “Long Live Luke” on it.
Dawson Knox spent time away from the Bills after his brother’s death, but was back on the field on Aug. 23. Knox said when he returned to Buffalo, he realized for the first time that the city truly felt like a second home to he.
“[I] really felt a lot of love and support over the last few weeks with my brother, my family has been so thankful, and just everyone in Buffalo has been incredible,” Knox said. “The amount of texts I’ve gotten, the messages, the posts. The moment of silence for the preseason game. It was everything I expected from Buffalo and more, because this city is incredible, it meant the world to me.”
Knox said Bills fans and others have raised more than $200,000 in Luke Knox’s name to the PUNT Pediatric Cancer Collaborative, a public charity in Western New York with which the Bills have worked closely. Some of it came in increments of $16.88, the brothers’ numbers combined. More than $100,000 was raised about the first day after the news of Knox’s death.
“As Luke and Dawson’s parents, we want to thank Buffalo and Bills Mafia everywhere for the incredible outpouring of support and love shown to our family,” David and Rachel Knox said in a statement via PUNT. but knowing these gifts in Luke’s honor will help so many hurting families truly blesses us.”
Knox said he wasn’t surprised to see the outpouring of support because of the “incredible city with such an incredible fan base and people.”
Knox is in the final year of his contract after a career-high nine touchdowns and 49 receptions in 2021. But he hasn’t been shy about letting it be known about where he’d like to be long-term.
“I love all the people in Buffalo,” Knox said, “and hopefully I’ll be here for a long time.”