Quarterback EJ Manuel is ahead of schedule after returning to the buffalo bills jerseys cheap practice field Sunday, said coach Doug Marrone.The first-round draft pick had been sitting out after having his knee scoped.
Manuel participated in individual drills Sunday and is expected to take part in team drills beginning Monday.
Marrone said the team will make the determination Wednesday whether Manuel or fellow rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel will start the Bills' season opener.
Manuel told reporters Sunday that he didn't feel any soreness in his knee after running and throwing Saturday. The rookie added that he "most definitely" would play next week if it was up to him.
Last week, Marrone hoped to get Manuel back to practice before the opener and that he would need to practice by Wednesday have a chance to play Week 1 against the New England Patriots. Manuel beat that deadline.
It was telling that the cheap buffalo bills jerseys kept only two quarterbacks on their active roster, Manuel and fellow rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel, before adding Thaddeus Lewis to the practice squad Sunday.
That move suggested the Bills were more comfortable with Manuel's progress than they let on.
Getting the rookie back on the field was the first step to the EJ era beginning in Buffalo.
Quarterback EJ Manuel returned to practice Sunday and the cheap bills jerseys are cautiously optimistic about his chances of starting the season opener.
Manuel returned after missing two weeks because of a left knee injury.
He participated in warm-ups and individual drills, where he moved well and did not show any ill effects from the injury. He was wearing a small brace on his left knee.
"He looked good," Bills coach Doug Marrone said. "I say that not knowing what can happen in the next couple days, but as far as today I think he looked good."
Manuel had been out since suffering a knee injury in Buffalo's second preseason game on Aug. 16. He had what the team called a "minor procedure" on the knee on Aug. 18.
Manuel wasn't the only bills jerseys cheap player to return on Sunday.
Safety Jairus Byrd, who missed all of the offseason after receiving the franchise tag, practiced on a limited basis after getting a second opinion on his injured foot. Byrd said that he is dealing with plantar fasciitis, an injury that affects the sole of the foot.
Running back C.J. Spiller returned to practice after spending a week with his family in his hometown of Lake Butler, Fla. Spiller's step-grandfather, Hubert Allen, allegedly killed two people and shot two others before committing suicide on Aug. 24.
Manuel topped the list of returning players.
The Bills plan to give Manuel his first reps in team drills since the injury on Monday. Marrone had previously said that he would like the first-round pick to be fully practicing by Wednesday in order for him to have a chance of starting the season opener on Sunday against New England.
"If we can have him practicing on Wednesday and we feel that he's good enough and mentally ready to play, then he's going to play," Marrone said.
Manuel is encouraged by his quick progress.
"It's very reassuring," Manuel said. "I just really want to see how it reacts tomorrow as far as the soreness or anything like that, which I don't think I'll have any soreness cause I didn't have any after I ran around and threw the other day. I'm just looking forward to moving on tomorrow and getting more reps in practice."
Manuel's return gives the Bills some good news at quarterback after a tumultuous preseason at the position.
Veteran Kevin Kolb, who was competing with Manuel for the starting quarterback job, was placed on injured reserve on Aug. 30. Kolb suffered a concussion against the Washington Redskins on Aug. 24. Kolb also missed time at training camp because of a left knee injury after tripping on a wet rubber mat between practice fields.
With Kolb and Manuel injured, the Bills briefly had only one healthy quarterback in undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel. Buffalo added free agent Matt Leinart and acquired Thad Lewis in a trade with Detroit prior to the team's final preseason game, but both players were released on Saturday. Lewis has since rejoined the Bills as a member of the practice squad.
Byrd's status for the season opener is less clear. Byrd traveled to North Carolina on Saturday to visit with foot specialist Robert Anderson before revealing the nature of his plantar fasciitis injury on Sunday. Byrd missed the entire offseason before signing his one-year, $6.9 million franchise tender on Aug. 20.
"He's still working his way back in," Marrone said. "Doing a couple team things, but again, still working his way back in to get him in a position where he can help us."
Spiller did not participate in practice, but was glad to return to his teammates following the events in Florida.
"I understand that it is a tragic event that took place and it's going to take a while to cope with it, but at the same time I can't forget the task and the goal and the dreams that we have as a team and as an organization," Spiller said. "I want to be a part of that, and I'll do everything I can to make sure that I'm ready to go."
Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd shed some light on the foot injury that has caused him to miss time since signing his franchise tender.
Byrd said Sunday he had a second opinion on his foot after dealing with plantar fasciitis.
The safety added he's been working "as much as my body can endure" to return to the field.
Bills coach Doug Marrone said Byrd didn't participate fully in practice Sunday and is unsure of his status heading into next week's season opener against the New England Patriots.
The fifth-year pro has been mum about his injury since signing his tender. Byrd had been looking for a contract that would make him the highest-paid safety in the NFL.
The nature of a plantar fasciitis injury puts his return to the field up in the air. A lingering injury is the last thing Byrd could have hoped for as he seeks to prove he's worth a big contract next season.