Two months ago, Gibran Hamdan was out of football. On Sunday, he could be one play from being on the field as the Buffalo Bills' quarterback.
With the uncertain status of rookie Trent Edwards' sprained wrist, Hamdan may be elevated to the No. 2 spot behind starter J.P. Losman against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"The league's that way and especially at the quarterback position because it's such an important position," Hamdan said. "And I understand the gravity of it. I understand the importance of being prepared to play. There's a lot of guys here that I wasn't necessarily with in training camp that have sweated and been through a lot together. I feel like I've been working to earn respect from all the guys ever since I've stepped foot in the building, to be a guy that works hard and supports the guys that I play with."
The Bills signed the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Hamdan to the practice squad in late September and added him to the 53-man roster in October.
This is Hamdan's fifth team since coming out of Indiana University as a seventh-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins in 2003. He played three seasons in NFL Europa from 2004 to 2006. He spent time in the Seattle and San Francisco organizations. He was in Miami's training camp this summer before being cut.
"He's a guy I really like," Bills coach Dick Jauron said after practice Thursday. "I like the way he approaches practice every day. He wasn't unfamiliar with our offense when he came here. He's done some similar things, including the terminology. He feels pretty comfortable with it. If we were in that situation [where he had to play], we would limit what package he had. I like him a lot."
Jauron said Edwards has improved, but not enough to practice, so he's not overly optimistic about Edwards dressing Sunday.
"You definitely like to see him demonstrate that he can grip a ball, throw a ball, hand the ball off, take a snap, all of those things," Jauron said. "Otherwise there's no reason at all to even put him in the possible situation that he would be out there. You don't want to risk further injury."
Hamdan is approaching this week as if he were the starter.
"I think that any quarterback that's on a 53-man roster prepares that way going into every game," he said. "You have to in this day and age. With the complex offenses and stuff, you've got to be prepared."
Defensive end Ryan Denney took another positive step Thursday as he practiced for the second straight day.
Denney has been sidelined since breaking his foot in the Bills' second preseason game.
"It was sore [Thursday] morning, but it felt pretty good during practice," Denney said. "We'll talk to the doctors later this week, so hopefully they will clear me to play. It's looking good."
Jauron said Denney might be a game-time decision. Jauron is more optimistic about free safety Jim Leonhard's return. Leonhard, who has missed three games with a calf injury, has practiced fully the last two days.
Chad Johnson's famous cornerback "checklist" has created a lot of fanfare the last two seasons. But instead of saying which cornerbacks can or can't cover him, the Cincinnati Bengals' flamboyant receiver is letting the fans decide for themselves this year.
This week, Bills fans can vote for either Terrence McGee or Jabari Greer or vote for Johnson by going to Johnson's Web site at trashtalk85.com.
"I'm getting a lot of hits," Johnson said this week. "All it's about is letting the fans have fun with it. It's not me checking yes or no anymore. I'm leaving it up to the world."
By logging on to the Web site, which is run in conjunction with Degree Men deodorant, 8.5 cents per hit will be donated to "Feed the Children," a non-profit hunger relief organization. Johnson's goal is to raise $85,000.
"I had the unique opportunity to tour Kenya in the spring and it really opened my eyes," said Johnson, who is building a school there. "I hope the fans will really get behind the checklist this season because Degree Men has made it so simple to help these kids."
Sunday's game is a sellout.