For all of you Motown and soul music fans, you may remember the early-1970s hit single “Mr. Big Stuff” that was written and sung by a female artist named Jean Knight.
Marcell Dareus wasn’t born until 1990, but he knows the song because his late mother used to play that record when he was growing up in Alabama.
Lately, “Mr. Big Stuff” has been reprised at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and stadium-goers heard a few chords a couple times Sunday when Dareus made a pair of sacks that helped the Bills upset the Baltimore Ravens.
“People know I like to listen to old-school music and it was a song my mom used to play and I liked it,” Dareus said Tuesday afternoon following the Bills practice. “A friend of mine said, ‘You’re like Mr. Big Stuff in Buffalo’ and I asked if they could play that when I make a sack and they said sure.”
During his first two years with the team, Dareus didn’t have a sack song because he really didn’t need one.
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft failed to live up to that lofty status and heading into the 2013 season, with Mr. Big Stuff having played more like Mr. Big Bust, there were questions regarding whether the Bills may have whiffed yet again (Mike Williams at No. 4 overall in 2002 still burned in people’s minds) on a premier draft choice.
However, Dareus has elevated his game this year and is starting to look like the player the Bills thought they were getting. He has three sacks and 19 tackles, and at times has been a difficult assignment for the offensive linemen responsible for moving his massive 330-pound frame.
“I’m more comfortable this year,” Dareus said. “I’m in a spot where life is life, you’ve got to live for the future and take care of your responsibilities. I’m back in a comfort zone, trying to have fun and being me.”
There was nothing fun about 2012 for Dareus, and it really had nothing to do with sub-par play on the football field. His younger brother, 19-year-old Simeon Gilmore, was one of three men found shot to death at a house in Pelham, Ala., and that loss — as you might imagine — had a profound impact on Dareus. He soldiered through the season with a heavy heart, but he was rarely an impact player.