Rookie wide receiver Robert Foster has been full of surprises for the Buffalo Bills this year.
The first was making the Bills’ regular-season roster after his nondescript career at Alabama left him undrafted.
After being waived six games into the season and spending three weeks on Buffalo’s practice squad, Foster returned to post the Bills’ first 100-yard receiving game in more than a year and followed that with a 75-yard touchdown reception on Sunday.
On Wednesday night, Foster surprised a teenager and his mother at a Foot Locker by buying the youngster a pair of sneakers that he had his heart set on.
Lori Stearns from West Seneca, N.Y., shared the story of the encounter that she and her 14-year-old son, Mikey, had with the NFL player via Facebook.
“I used to go to my dad and my mom about sneakers, and I would always want the first pair of Jordans or Nikes that came out,” Foster said. “So I was just like, ‘Let me help.’ I give sneakers away all the time. Sneakers are like the thing now. …
“It’s just the little kid really liked the sneakers, and I bought them for him. I helped the kid out. I always believe that you give and you shall receive. … It can be at any time. So I just wanted to bless that kid and put a smile on somebody’s face because God has been blessing me. I just wanted to bless him.”
After Foster earned a spot on the Bills’ regular-season roster, he played in the first six games and had two receptions for 30 yards before being waived on Oct. 18, then re-signed for the practice squad.
Foster spent 23 days on the Buffalo practice squad before rejoining the active roster on Nov. 10. The next day in a 41-10 victory over the New York Jets, Foster caught three passes for 105 yards in the first start of his NFL career. He produced Buffalo’s first 100-yard receiving game since Oct. 22, 2017 — a span of 19 contests.
“I needed to be cut,” Foster said, “because at the end of the day, it helped me. It made me work on things that I needed to work on. It made me do a lot more things that I could do to benefit the team.”
In the Bills’ next game, Foster caught two passes for 94 yards, scoring his first touchdown on a 75-yard reception in a 24-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
“I just think we’re watching a young man develop and, No. 1, understanding what it takes to play in this league,” Buffalo coach Sean McDermott said. “He’s earning the right to get playing time, and he’s made the most of his opportunities since coming back. I’ve enjoyed watching him develop, and there’s still room for growth there, just like our whole football team.”
Foster cited his speed and relationship with Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as two of the reasons for overcoming the odds as an undrafted rookie. Daboll served as Foster’s offensive coordinator for Alabama’s CFP national-championship team last season.
“I’m proud of him,” Daboll said. “It hasn’t been easy for him, really, growing up to where he is now. He’s been through a lot, and that’s a sign of a mentally tough person to be able to fight through adversity.”
With back-to-back victories, the Bills take a 4-7 record into Sunday’s road game against the Miami Dolphins.