The Buffalo Bills' offense may get a much-needed boost this week. It appears Steve Tasker, the No. 3 wide receiver and punt returner, will play on Sunday night.
Tasker has been out since spraining his foot in the first quarter of the season-opener against the New York Giants.
He will practice on Wednesday, and unless he has a setback, he will be playing against the New England Patriots in Foxboro, Mass.
"Marv (Levy) said he'd like me to get three good days of practice in," Tasker said Monday. "He doesn't want me to come back Wednesday and have a day off Thursday. If I can make it through a good practice and come back the next day I'm pretty much home free."
Tasker said the injury is healed. However, he still has some pain in the foot.
"It feels pretty good. I started running routes midway through last week and it went well. I was able to make cuts and do what I needed to do. The pain subsides between routes. By the time I get back to the line of scrimmage I feel I can go again. But by the end of the pass route, it hurts pretty bad. But it's getting better."
Tasker said the pain is something he just needs to fight through. He said the injury is not like a hamstring pull, in which he could reinjure it through normal contact or stress. The same kind of unusual sprain would have to occur for it to be reinjured.
"It's such a freak injury because it's kind of an accordion effect on your foot," he said. "We're 7 1/2 weeks past the injury, so it's not like I can hurt it just running on it now. I'm really anxious to get back."
With the resignation of New Orleans coach Jim Mora, Marv Levy now has a longer tenure with the Bills than any other coach in the NFL with their club.
Mora was hired by the Saints on Jan. 25, 1986. Levy was hired on Nov. 3, 1986. Wayne Fontes of Detroit is the coach with the next longest tenure. Fontes was hired on Nov. 14, 1988.
In fact, only one head coach in all of major professional sports has a longer tenure with his current club than Levy. That's Minnesota Twins manager Tom Kelly, who was hired on Sept. 12, 1986.
Levy said there were no major injuries from Sunday's Jets game.
Defensive end Phil Hansen and tight end Lonnie Johnson each suffered sprained ankles that are not serious. Bruce Smith was hampered by a previously sprained ankle. Linebacker Chris Spielman and safety Matt Stevens suffered thigh contusions.
Receiver Russell Copeland suffered a back bruise late last week that restricted him Sunday.
Jim Kelly had a slightly sprained ankle and said the hamstring that kept him out two games was not much of a hindrance.
"It's not where it's supposed to be yet," Kelly said. "But I just have to keep exercising it. It's getting stronger."
The Bills now are an NFL-best 18-6 in the '90s in games decided by three points or fewer. Their 12 straight wins in games decided by seven points or fewer extended their NFL record. . . . Former Bills cornerback Booker Edgerson will be inducted into the Western Illinois University Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 8.