ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White already knows how he’s going to spend a portion of his first paycheque.
Buffalo’s rookie first-round draft pick is going to buy his mother, LaShawnita Ruffins, a house.
"She’s been renting homes my whole life," White said Thursday, shortly after signing a four-year deal projected to be worth about $9 million. "So I feel like my duty is to get her in a comfortable situation where she can call something her own."
White previously credited both parents for the role they played in helping him escape growing up in a rough neighbourhood in Shreveport, Louisiana, to pursue his football career at LSU.
"I know my life changed," he said. "Coming from the background I came from, that’s a big deal."
White had another important reason to have the contract behind him as soon as possible. Now he can turn his attention to competing for a starting job in a revamped secondary after Buffalo lost starter Stephon Gilmore and No. 3 cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman in free agency.
"I never for once thought about a contract or holding out or anything like that," said White, selected 27th overall . "I came here to complete, learn the playbook, get comfortable around the guys and earn everything — earn the right to play."
White’s signing capped a highly eventful day as the Bills closed their first week of voluntary practices.
Buffalo also signed rookie second-round pick Zay Jones, a receiver out of East Carolina. The Bills also announced Jones is listed week to week after he sprained a knee during a recent practice.
Jones’ signing leaves Buffalo with just two of six draft selections unsigned: offensive lineman Dion Dawkins and quarterback Nathan Peterman.
Newly hired general manager Brandon Beane continued a string of hirings since taking over for Doug Whaley, who was fired along with most of Buffalo’s scouts a day after the draft.
Lake Dawson was hired to become the team’s assistant director of college scouting. Dawson spent last year earning his MBA at Indiana, and has 23 years of NFL experience including nine seasons as the Titans vice-president of player personnel.
Marvin Allen and Brian Adams were also hired to national scouting positions.
Allen has 24 years of NFL experience, including the past four as the Chiefs college scouting director.
This week also marked linebacker Reggie Ragland’s return to practice since he tore a ligament in his left knee during training camp in August.
Ragland has plenty to get accustomed to since being selected in the second round of last year’s draft out of Alabama.
Buffalo has changed coaches, with Sean McDermott taking over after Rex Ryan was fired in the final week of last season. And McDermott is introducing a new defensive philosophy with Buffalo shifting from a three-lineman, four-linebacker set to a 4-3 system.
Pegged to be a starter under Ryan because of his hard-hitting, run-stopping presence, Ragland now has to prove himself to McDermott while having never played in a 4-3 set.
"I’m getting there," Ragland said.
He’s being eased back, and spent this week limited to taking part in individual drills.
Ragland spent a majority of his time during team sessions alongside new defensive co-ordinator Leslie Frazier to better understand what calls are being made.
"Just controlling what I can control," he said. "But once I get out on the field, I can control a little bit more."
Ragland is currently learning the middle linebacker spot along with returning starter Preston Brown. Frazier hasn’t ruled out the possibility of potentially switching Ragland to an outside position.
Whatever it takes to contribute, said Ragland.
"Just because I’ve got to slide over is not going to stop me from working my tail off every day," Ragland said.