‘Appreciate the struggles’: Kaiir Elam eyes bounce-back season

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — Kaiir Elam says he’s never been through anything on the field like what he’s been through the last two seasons with the Bills.

“I learned to appreciate the struggles because it helped me become who I am now,” said Elam on Tuesday.

But with those struggles, there has been growth and learning. He says that there is now a freedom he begins the season with he’s never had before.

“It’s not like I was cutting corners, it’s not like I wasn’t listening, or taking notes, or preparing the right way,” said the Bills’ 2022 first-round draft pick. “I feel like it allowed me to learn. Sometimes you can’t force success. You’ve just got to continue to keep riding that wave, keep trying to stay consistent, and continue to trust and believe in yourself.”

Kaiir Elam admitted the last two years ate at him.
But also that those struggles have led to growth. Resiliency. Learning.

“You can’t force success. You have to… continue to trust and believe in yourself.”#Bills

— Thad Brown (@thadbrown7) May 28, 2024

Elam suffered a torn ligament in his ankle in the preseason last year. He tried to play through it, but eventually found himself on the IR.

Now healthy, Elam is trying to turn his career around. With Dane Jackson and Tre’Davious White out of the picture, Elam figures to be the third outside cornerback on the depth chart behind Rasul Douglas and Christian Benford.

“I work hard, there’s no doubt about it. Nobody would say differently,” said Elam. “I believe in myself and it’s just a part of life. It’s not going to go your way but I pride myself in staying resilient and continuing to challenge myself to learn from past mistakes.”

Always impressed with the maturity Kaiir Elam continues to show despite his struggles with the #Bills.

Asked about how he handled frustration of last 2 years:
“I learned to appreciate it instead of trying to (just) cope”

— Thad Brown (@thadbrown7) May 28, 2024

Elam is changing his number from 24 to number 5 this season. It’s the number he started wearing when he was about 4 years old, wearing it all the way up to his days at the University of Florida.

“That’s the number I was born with. That’s the number I came out of the womb with,” said Elam.

Quarterback Matt Barkley previously had that number on the Bills. Elam joked that his “incorrect” jersey number was partially to blame for his struggles the last two seasons.

While changing jersey numbers won’t fix all of his problems, it certainly can’t hurt. And Elam has the mindset to make sure there are no excuses moving forward as he continues his career.

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