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Marcell Dareus talks charity work in Haiti and wanting to prove himself at Buffalo

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After spending 12 years in the National Football League with the Philadelphia Eagles and serving a five-year stint at Carolina as a defensive coordinator, Sean McDermott has been given the keys to run the Buffalo Bills. The 43-year-old expects to guide the franchise to the postseason for the first time since 1999, and the good thing for him is that he inherits a talented defense.

Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is prepared to put a rough 2016 season behind him.

He played in just eight games, following a four-game suspension due to him abusing the NFL’s substance policy for a second time. Although he would total 39 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a pass breakup, Buffalo’s defense was inconsistent – finishing near the bottom of the league in total defense (19th), rushing defense (29th) and first down allowed (24th) while being sixth in pass defense and eighth in sacks.

Before last season, Dareus was having a monster career.

He saw action in 80 games and posted 252 tackles, 30.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 13 pass breakups. The 6-foot-3, 331-pounder has been selected to two Pro Bowls (2013, 2014) and received first team All-Pro honors in 2014. During an interview last week with NFL Network analyst Dan Hellie on NFL Total Access, Dareus said he’s looking forward to proving himself next season.

“I’m just excited to be in the league,” Dareus said. “I have something to prove to the Bills organization and the fans. I like making people pay.”

Speaking of payment, the good kind that is, quarterback Tyrod Taylor reconstructed his contract with Buffalo. He’s done well through two years as the starter, completing 62.7 percent of his throws for 6,058 passing yards with 37 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. While his next step is to get the Bills to the playoffs, Dareus said the entire team believes in the ex-Virginia Tech star.

“He (Taylor) wants to win so bad,” Dareus said. “He wants to have his own for his own so people can rally around him. He works hard every day and puts in the effort. He’s a leader for sure.”

When he’s not crushing the souls of quarterbacks or flashing a bright smile in interviews, the Birmingham (Ala.) native is actually quite the humanitarian. In February, he and the Hope for Haiti Team – took a three-day mission trip to Haiti to give back to children and others in need.

“It was overwhelming,” Dareus said.

“This was a trip that I had been wanting to take my whole life. But to able to take it like this and experience it in the way that I did, words can’t express the way I actually feel about it. Just having fun in Haiti with the kids and we’re dancing. That really made their whole year.”

In a video shown on NFL Total Access, the youth are holding a check for $25,000. Dareus, who said he made a contribution, intends on returning to Haiti to see how things are progressing. As he enters his seventh NFL season, Dareus wants to have a firm understanding on what Buffalo’s defense will be like under McDermott.

Regardless of the wear and tear sustained in pro football, the 2009 Southeastern Conference champion and BCS national champion was molded to endure coming from the tutelage of Nick Saban.

“Things are a little more detailed, but we’ll have a better understanding of what he (McDermott) wants us to do when we get into camp,” Dareus said. “It’s about being on the same page.”

Stephen M. Smith is a managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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