Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- The writing was on the wall for defensive end Shawne Merriman back in August.
With three highly-paid players at his position firmly on the 53-man roster and a young player turning heads in training camp, the Buffalo Bills waived goodbye to Merriman almost two months ago.
Even after responding to fans telling them that he is not a defensive end in the NFL just a shade over a week ago, the Bills seem to differ in their opinions. With a key injury to their defensive line, the Bills had Merriman don his trademark number-56 for his first practice back with the team on Wednesday.
"I'm excited, man," said the freshly re-signed defensive end. "Just being back in the building with these guys and not having to text them every week after games just seeing how everyone was doing. But I'm definitely glad and happy to be back in the building."
During that two-month layoff a player can do a lot of things to keep himself ready for whenever a team comes calling, but head coach Chan Gailey knows they need to ease him back in to the swing of things.
"Shawne will take a lot of the scout team stuff just to get him back in playing shape," he said. "Well he'll take reps, don't get me wrong. He'll take reps with the regular defense. It's not like he's just going to be [on scout team]."
"I think everybody has a period there were they have to get back acclimated, but hopefully he can do that through practice," said teammate Kyle Williams. "The main thing you're concerned about is being in football shape because it doesn't matter how much you've been working out, what kind of working out you've been doing. You're not ready to play a football game until you actually get out in practice and play in a football game. So that's what practice will be for this week."
There's also a question as to how quickly he'll be able to get back up to speed with the defensive playbook. Merriman replied that it's a non-issue.
"Yeah, it's become second nature," he said Wednesday. "I just went through a whole training camp and got very comfortable, especially towards the end of training camp, the scheme and how things work and it became a little bit more natural for me."
With injuries to both Mark Anderson and Spencer Johnson along the defensive line, the Bills may need Merriman to be ready. Perhaps even as soon as this week.
"As long as he's in playing shape and everything goes well this week and he gets back in to the flow of things, he probably's gonna be right there on Sunday giving us some help," Gailey remarked.
"But don't make me 100-percent on that," Gailey added.
For Merriman, his mindset is simple as someone who is more of a depth player at this stage of his career than someone that will be depended on to start each week.
"Basically, do what the coaches need me to do. Do what this team needs me to do," he said. "It's one of those things, guys get hurt in the National Football League and you've got to be ready to play."