Dawson Knox thanks Bills for ‘therapeutic’ distraction after brother’s death

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Dawson Knox is back with the Buffalo Bills and gearing up for their season opener on Thursday against the Los Angeles Rams, which will mark the first real game the tight end has played since his younger brother, Luke, died last month at FIU.

Dawson, speaking about his brother’s death for the first time publicly on Monday, said that being back with the Bills in recent weeks has actually been very helpful for him.

"Just getting back up here, getting in the routine, seeing all my teammates, seeing my coaches, definitely from a distraction standpoint it's great, too," Dawson said, via ESPN. "But it's also very therapeutic just doing what I love with the guys that I love. I know that my brother would want it that way, too. He wants me to give everything I got. I know he is gonna be watching somehow, someway, so yeah, it's definitely been great being back up here, getting back with all the guys."

FIU coach Mike MacIntyre announced on Aug. 18 that Luke had died. He was 22.

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The school still has not announced a cause of death, though police have said they do not suspect foul play. Luke, a linebacker, had transferred to FIU from Ole Miss during the offseason.

“Words cannot express the heartfelt sorrow we feel because of the passing of our teammate and friend, Luke Knox," MacIntyre wrote in a statement last month. "I had the honor of coaching Luke at Ole Miss and at FIU. While I admired his passion for football, his genuine love for his family and teammates is what I will always remember. He had a special way of making everyone around him feel comfortable and confident. Luke’s family is special to me and they will continually be in my heart and my prayers during this difficult time. On behalf of the entire FIU football family, I extend sincere condolences to Luke’s family and all who love him.”

Dawson had a career-high 587 receiving yards and nine touchdowns last season, his third with the Bills. The 25-year-old is entering the final year of his four-year, $3.5 million deal.

Dawson, who said he hopes to strike a deal to remain in Buffalo moving forward, said Bills fans have helped raise more than $200,000 in his brother’s name, too.

"I've really felt a lot of love and support over the last few weeks with my brother. My family has been very thankful, and just everybody in Buffalo has been incredible," Dawson said. "The amount of texts I've gotten, the messages, the posts, the moment of silence for the preseason game, it's just been everything that I expected out of Buffalo and more because this city's incredible. It's meant the world to me ... Thank you guys. It means the world to me.

"I love all the people in Buffalo, and hopefully I'll be here for a long time."

Dawson Knox of the Buffalo Bills
Dawson Knox's younger brother, Luke, died last month at FIU. He was 22. (Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)