Travel with Mongo

Travel with Mongo

Life on the Road with Buffalo Offensive Lineman Jon Feliciano
Kip Doyle
Jon Feliciano of the Buffalo Bills

 

Life on the road is as familiar as football practice for Jon Feliciano.

The Buffalo Bills offensive lineman, 29, remembers being a passenger during long drives from South Florida to New York City, where he visited family over the holidays as a youth. It was then that he started to take in the experience of travel, like seeing the rural beauty of North Carolina through a backseat window or listening to the radio’s nonstop repeat of an Usher ballad during a 20-hour drive to Long Island.

The travel schedule would only increase when Feliciano played for his hometown school, the University of Miami, and then again when he was drafted by the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders in 2015. But unlike the leaner days of his youth, today team travel comes with some perks.

“My poor wife, when I'm traveling with her, I'm taking up both seats,” Feliciano jokes. “But when I'm traveling with the team on the longer flights, we're usually in first class, which is great. Team travel is honestly the most fun. It's just you and the guys, and the funniest things happen in the buses or the airplane.”

At 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, Feliciano needs to keep an eye on comfort when traveling, especially when flying. If you spot him at the airport, expect a casual look.

“I'm always in a not-so-heavy sweater because it gets cold in the airports,” Feliciano said. “And some basketball shorts and slides with socks, which helps when going through security.”

Playing football has allowed Feliciano to visit dozens of cities throughout the country as well as London and Mexico for international games with the Raiders. But the player known as “Mongo” has some serious road trip experience away from the game as well, including cross-country RV treks and family vacations with his wife and two children.

Feliciano, who is of Puerto Rican descent, also frequently vacations in Puerto Rico. He’s a fan of historic Old San Juan and the Puerto Rican rainforest, the only rainforest in the United States.

“There's a place called El Yunque where you can just hang out under a waterfall or just lay in the stream and listen to all the animal noises,” Feliciano said.

 

Coming to Buffalo

After signing with the Bills in 2019, Feliciano was impressed by the passion local fans have for the team. His first taste was witnessing the RV parking lot near Highmark Stadium begin to fill on the Friday before the Sunday home opener.

“And then on Saturday, there’s an outrageous amount of people there, like it doesn’t even make any sense. They are parked out there from Friday to Sunday, and it’s awesome. I love it,” he said.

That’s the nature of this area’s fan: Ever dedicated, but also equally willing to make new players feel at home, Feliciano said.

“People out here are respectful. You can tell they are genuine fans,” he said. “Every interaction I’ve had with people in Buffalo has been with respect and love.”

 

When in Miami

A perk of playing for the Bills is an annual game in his hometown of Miami to take on the Miami Dolphins.

“Going back home to Miami is probably my favorite part of the season,” Feliciano said.

Feliciano recommends that his teammates and traveling football fans explore Florida’s diverse cuisine when visiting.

“There are so many types of food. Columbian, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican,” he said. “There's something for everyone there.

“When I'm in Miami, I'm going to Gilbert’s Bakery, getting a couple of pastries, and hanging out.”

 

Get to Know Mongo

Feliciano’s interests include writing, body art, video games and UFC. He's also a philanthropist who has given more than $30,000 to charities working to reduce childhood hunger and supporting educational advancement among Latinos.

Here are a few spots that Feliciano, an amateur chef, likes to take friends and family to in the Buffalo area:

  • The Poked Yolk: “So for breakfast, the Poked Yolk is one of my favorites right by the stadium. It's great to pop in after I'm done with work.”
  • Mulberry Italian Restaurant: “Mulberry is our No. 1 spot. That's where I take my family, and after the game, my teammates usually go out there.”
  • Remington Tavern: “My wife and I have recently been going out to the Remington Tavern, which is a great spot. They have live music, just a nice spot to hang out and have a couple of drinks. They have some great food.”
     

Mongo’s Travel Bucket List

A few places that Feliciano wants to travel to:

  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Netherlands
  • Japan
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • All Disney parks

Follow Jon Feliciano at:

 

Photos taken at Aloft Buffalo Downtown. AAA Members save 5% or more at Aloft and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking with AAA.

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