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ROOKIE TIGHT END EVERETT INJURES KNEE

The first day of the Buffalo Bills' minicamp ended on a sour note for rookie tight end Kevin Everett, who was taken from the field after suffering what the team believes to be a twisted left knee.

Everett, the Bills' third-round draft pick, was hurt after making a catch during a team drill during the afternoon session in Ralph Wilson Stadium. He crumpled to the ground when his foot appeared to stick in the turf as he planted to cut upfield. He was on his back in obvious pain and slapped the turf in frustration before team trainers helped him onto a cart. Bills coach Mike Mularkey said he wouldn't know the full extent of Everett's injury until today, but doesn't think it is as serious as it looked.

"We're going to take a look at it," Mularkey said. "But it looks like he twisted the knee."

The Bills hope that it's nothing more than that. They are already very thin at the position with starter Mark Campbell and to backup Tim Euhus still recovering from reconstructive knee surgeries. The team's No. 3 tight end, Ryan Neufeld, also did not practice Friday.

For now, second-year veteran Rod Trafford and undrafted rookie free agent Brad Cieslak are the only healthy tight ends on the roster.

Everett is expected to have a key role in the offense and provide some insurance in case Campbell and Euhus aren't 100 percent by training camp.

Everett was having a good first day, making nice catches and showing off the athletic skills that made him an appealing prospect. He caught 23 passes for 310 yards during his last year at Miami, but missed the Peach Bowl with separated left shoulder.

As expected, running back Travis Henry will not attend the mandatory minicamp this weekend. As a result, he could face a fine from the team.

Mularkey said there would some type of disciplinary action, but declined to say what it will be.

"I know that he made the statement that he was not going to show," Mularkey said of Henry, who is seeking a trade. "I held out a glimmer of hope, but it did not happen. He's under contract and he should be here."

Henry is scheduled to make $1.5 million in the final year of his contract, but he told the Bills that he doesn't want to play for them after losing his starting job to Willis McGahee.

The Bills are continuing their efforts to trade Henry, but they expect him to honor his contract if no trade is made.

Another minicamp absentee was third quarterback Shane Matthews, who has not yet signed his agreed-upon contract. He will not be here this weekend, but Mularkey expects him to join the team soon.

Offensive lineman Ross Tucker and cornerback Kevin Thomas are sitting out this weekend after having offseason knee surgeries.

Mularkey did not say why defensive tackle Lauvale Sape and defensive end Uyi Osunde are being kept out.

After going heavy on offense in the draft, the Bills turned their attention to defense. The team released its full list of undrafted rookie signings, and 10 of the 16 players are on the defensive side.

Heading the list is South Carolina defensive end George Gause, a three-year starter who recorded 15 sacks and six forced fumbles during his career. Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. rated Gause as the 11th-best player at his position and projected him as a fourth-round draft pick.

Other defensive players signed were tackle Tom Sverchek of California; linebackers Liam Ezekiel of Northeastern and Wendell Hunter of California; cornerbacks Therrian Fontenot of Northeastern, Rob Lee of Northern Illinois, Evan Oglesby of North Alabama and Marvin Ward of Northwestern; and safeties Jim Leonhard of Wisconsin and Daniel Leger of Colorado School of Mines.

The offensive signees are wide receivers Tony Brown of Tennessee and Will Peoples of Oklahoma; fullback Jon Goldsberry of Purdue; tight end Brad Cieslak of Northern Illinois; guard Geir Gudmundsen of Albany; and place-kicker Joe Rheem of Kansas State.

The Bills had an NFL-high four undrafted rookies on their opening day roster last season. Three of them -- safety Rashad Baker, cornerback Jabari Greer, defensive end and running back Shaud Williams made sizable contributions. Tight end Jason Peters began last year on the practice squad, but was signed to the active roster in November.

It's only been one day, but Mularkey said this year's rookie class has made a good early impression. Most of the players don't appear to be overwhelmed.

"I've been in some camps that you go, 'I'm not sure if this guy can play at this level. It's too big for them,' " Mularkey said. "I didn't feel that way for any of these guys. Just watching them in the individual drills, even in the team work, I think our scouts and coaches did a good job of getting some competitive players as they did last year."

The Bills will conduct two practices today and one on Sunday morning. They are closed to the public.
e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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