At long last the Buffalo Bills will get their regular season started this coming weekend and finally put to rest the extended preseason that 2014 provided. Step one in that process was going through their first Wednesday of the regular season, which serves as the lengthiest practice of the work week
The Bills took the field outside the ADPRO Sports Training Center with rookie wide receiver and first-round selection Sammy Watkins back in full. The team announced shortly after the session that Watkins, who suffered a second injury to his ribs last Thursday, was not limited in practice throughout any of the drills.
Watkins, just as he was on Monday, played the part of an optimist when speaking with reporters after practice.
"Yeah, I’m ready to play," he said. "With the ribs you don’t know, whether you feel one hundred percent one day, or eighty, ninety. Until I get that first hit, that will explain it all. Now I know how it feels to get hit, and what the outcome will be. A lot of pain, losing your breath but it’s not going to take me out of the game. Just get a breather and come back in."
Despite his overwhelming positivity, head coach Doug Marrone wasn't as ready to commit to Watkins being available on Sunday in Chicago.
"I think we’re just going to wait and see for the game," Marrone replied. "It’s hard to judge right now."
The Bills are hoping they won't have to exercise the same approach for cornerback Stephon Gilmore for the team's first game of the season. Gilmore was one of three players that had to be limited during Wednesday's practice due to an injury. The starting cornerback was slowed up by a groin injury, but insisted that it won't affect him for the regular season opener in Chicago.
Gilmore, along with rookie linebacker Randell Johnson (ankle) and safety Jonathan Meeks (neck) were the three players that had to skip some reps on Wednesday. The lone non-participant of the day was tight end Lee Smith, who has continued his attempt to come back from an injury to his toe.
The playing status for each of the five players has yet do be determine. The Bills are mandated by NFL rules to disclose all of their injured players with a specific designation for Sunday.
**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press