How Coach Legend Bill Parcells Family Mentors Prepared Bill’s Rookie Kaiir Elam for NFL Success

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BUFFALO, NY – When the Elam family arrived in Buffalo a few hours after cornerback Kaiir Elam was selected No. 23 overall by the Bills, Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcell shared details over the phone about Kaiir’s new home.

“[Parcells] was like, ‘These people come to these games Friday night and the tailgate [until Sunday]”said former NFL security guard Abram Elam, Kaiir’s father.

Abram, who played seven NFL seasons, has his own memories of Highmark Stadium – he made his only career choice there on a 92-yard return when he was with the New York Jets in 2008.

Kaiir is the latest branch from a pedigree of NFL defensive backs that includes his father and his uncle, Matt Elam, a 2013 pick from the Baltimore Ravens in the first round. Kaiir seem to be following in their footsteps with a clear path to a starting role in last season’s No. 1 defense. On a team with few needs, he can fill the largest remaining gap.

Kaiir has relied on the experience of his father, uncle and even Parcells to get here. Their support played a role in Bills adding him to the list and preparing him for success at the next level.

“I’m very happy he went to Buffalo because I know [Bills defensive coordinator] “Leslie Frazier and I talked a bit with Leslie about Kaiir before the draft,” Parcells, a two-time Super Bowl-winning coach, told ESPN. “I just do not think he could have gone to a better place.”

Kaiir joins the NFL, which is far more knowledgeable about the pro experience than most 21-year-olds thanks to Parcells’ feedback.

The Elam family is based in Riviera Beach, Florida and lives about 30 minutes from the Hall of Fame coach. Parcells watched Kaiir’s fights with the Florida Gators and gave him notes afterwards.

“He does not care if I had the best game of my life,” Elam said of Parcells during his combined meeting with the Bills, according to video on the team’s YouTube channel. “He called me like, ‘You gave him too much pillow.’ I feel like you could have taken these guys out of bounds. ‘ Just a few small things to help me reach my goals right here. “

Another way Parcells did everything to help Elam was to give a quick call to a particular quarterback in Buffalo.

“I know Josh Allen a little bit,” Parcells said, “and I called Josh and asked him a little to keep an eye on Kaiir for me, and he said he would.”

What does Parcells like about Kaiir’s game? The former trainer pointed to his length (6-foot-1, 30 and 7/8-inch arms), ability to run well and game preparation skills. Those, Parcells said, come from his father.

“It really is not complicated,” Parcells said. “[Abram] tried to give his son the right direction, both educationally and athletically, and he has tried to give him that. And fortunately he has the experience for that. ”

When Kaiir went to elementary school, he went to The Swamp to watch his uncle play for the Gators. But Kaiir was not allowed to play football even before in junior high school. His parents wanted to prevent him from getting injured, but also did not want to force him into the sport just because his family practiced it.

Matt said it enabled Kaiir himself to fall in love with football and find the motivation and discipline from a young age to provide the necessary work.

“I deserved it. Kaiir was a chubby little kid, but he made sure he got his body right. When he got to high school… he locked himself in,” Matt said.

Kaiir said: “I always begged to play, but it only came true in eighth grade, and in order to play football, I had to run tracks. It’s something that I feel it really gave paw and helped me as a player and person. And I appreciate that from my father. ”

Abram joined the NFL as an outdated free agent and signed with Parcells’ Cowboys in 2006. Abram started 71 games for four different teams during his career, including another stay with the Cowboys in 2011.

He has remained close friends with Parcells, and the couple talks almost every day. Abram is now working to help other players succeed on and off the field by consulting through The Elam Model, who extends to Kaiir using his family and others to support him instead of a traditional agent.

“They called me the plan,” said Abram, “but I say [Kaiir] and Matt, they took the plans [for success]and they improved it. “

Matt, a safety, was named 32nd overall. He has held four seasons in Baltimore and played in 41 games, but he struggled with injuries and inconsistency. He has worked in the CFL and XFL since 2018 and currently plays for the Edmonton Elks.

“Kaiir is going to have a great career because he’s a good boy and he’s not into a lot of things,” Matt said. “… I mean, a lot of young kids his age, get a lot of money and see the flashy cars, jewelry and all that – it’s not going to excite him, because he’s already seen it. That’s why Kaiir “is the person he is. He is so humble, he is so gentle, he is so calm because he has seen it.”

Matt and Abram, who share their experiences with Kaiir about the good, the bad and everything in between that comes with playing in the NFL, can only better prepare the rookie.

“I was able to learn from their mistakes and I think it really benefited me,” Kaiir said. “So if I make the same mistakes they made, it’s like a double sin for me because I have to learn from them, their first-hand experience, and they are super dull, super honest with me.”

They told Kaiir about taking advantage of every opportunity and that every moment he is in the Bills facility is an evaluation.

“As soon as you get in, you can go too,” Kaiir said.

That guidance has remained with him. He has trained with his uncle over the years and has worked on improving his tackling technique with his father.

But despite all the advice Kaiir has received, he himself has been something of a role model. Matt describes his nephew as someone others look up to, including Kaiir’s friends when he was growing up. Kaiir urges Matt to get better at achieving his goal of playing with his nephew in the NFL.

“He’s pushing me, he’s motivating me now,” Matt said. “I was his motivation. I pushed for him, but the tables turned.”



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