With Terrence McGee’s career ending with the Bills on Thursday with the team’s release of the veteran cornerback, it’s hard for some to remember what a quality cornerback he was and as a game changing kick returner. I’ll help you.
McGee was so good as a young corner that after a game against the Patriots in 2004 McGee was approached on the field by Bill Belichick, who told him he was impressed by his play. But in his younger days McGee was even more impressive as a kick returner.
His style was straight ahead. There was no dancing with McGee. He’d make one cut, hit the hole and that was it. My favorite return by McGee was his career long 104-yarder against the Dolphins in Miami. It was the opening kickoff and McGee took it four yards deep in the end zone, ran diagonally to the left side of the field, stuck his foot in the ground and exploded through a nice hole by the return unit and busted for the sideline.
He outran the last two coverage players the final 40 yards. With the press box at Dolphins Stadium in the corner of the end zone to which McGee was running, the return man was coming our way. I was watching through my binoculars the whole way and noticed as McGee turned his head to see if anyone was closing on him that he had his mouthpiece turned sideways in his mouth with half of it protruding from his mouth like a dog with a chew toy and a sly smirk on his face.
He cruised into the end zone with 14:47 left in the opening quarter. McGee had gone 104 yards in 13 seconds. Not bad for a return man trying to avoid 11 guys trying to crush him and carrying 8-10 pounds of equipment on his back and a football under his arm.
His best return that did not go for a touchdown was in 2005 when the Bills were on the road against the Saints. The game was at the Alamodome in San Antonio due to Hurricane Katrina. It was the end of the half and the Saints had just scored. There were only about 10 seconds left in the half and McGee took the kickoff back and had one of the most entertaining returns I’ve witnessed in person.
He couldn’t employ his one cut and go strategy on this return as he bobbed and weaved his way through would-be tacklers. He criss-crossed the field twice. All the east-west running allowed Bills blockers to get out in front of him when he finally busted it back to the far sideline where there was some daylight. There was just one Saints cover player left in front of him and three Bills blockers out ahead of him.
Unfortunately Mark Campbell in an effort to block the last man cut too close in front of McGee and tripped him up at the three-yard line to end the half. Still for me the best 82-yard return (that probably had 120 yards of running) that did not go for a TD.
Tags: Terrence McGee
Posted in Inside the Bills