Hillsdale alum Andre Holmes ‘11 carries the ball during a Charger football game in 2010. (Photo: Hillsdale Ath­letics / Courtesy)

After four up-and-down seasons with the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders, Hillsdale football alum Andre Holmes ‘11, is con­tinuing his six-year-old career with the Buffalo Bills.  Holmes, who had a base salary of $2 million in 2016, is earning a bit of a pay-raise with a three-year, $6.5 million con­tract. 

“I texted Dre to con­grat­ulate him on his new con­tract a couple days [after his new con­tract was announced],” Hillsdale head football coach Keith Otterbein said. 

If the season started today, Holmes would be the team’s No. 2 receiver behind Sammy Watkins. 

“It was a great oppor­tunity to compete,” Holmes said in an interview with The Western New York media.

Listed at 6‑foot‑4 and 210 pounds, the receiver’s size can be a dif­ference maker in the red zone. In 2014, Holmes enjoyed a career year with 47 catches, 693 receiving yards, and four touch­downs. After being rel­e­gated to backup duties behind Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, and Seth Roberts in Oakland, however, his pro­duction dropped off.

The 28-year-old Hillsdale grad is the highest-profile addition to the Bills’ gutted receiving corps. His size com­bined with the ver­tical threat of Watkins could prove ruthless, given the down­field aggression of Bills quar­terback Tyrod Taylor and a new offensive play caller in Rick Den­nison. Holmes may also prove  an ace on special teams, as he ranked third on the Raiders with 9 special teams tackles last season. He also recovered a fumble fol­lowing a muffed punt when Oakland visited Jack­sonville in Week 7.

Holmes’ limited playoff expe­rience also may be a pos­itive to the Bills, as he led the Raiders in their playoff loss at Houston with four catches, 50 yards, and a touchdown. Holmes’ ability to be dependable on in high-pressure sit­u­a­tions dates back to his senior year as a Charger, where he led the team with 16 catches in a 2010 playoff loss to St. Cloud State as a favorite target of then-Hillsdale quar­terback Troy Weath­erhead 

Holmes orig­i­nally entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie with the Min­nesota Vikings and sub­se­quently spent his first two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. He then joined the Oakland Raiders in 2013 fol­lowing an off­season as part of the New England Patriots’ practice squad.