PITTSFORD – Breathe easy, Bills fans.
The sight of Sammy Watkins walking off the field with a trainer is ulcer-inducing, but the wide receiver is fine after suffering a "little ankle twist" Sunday as the Bills held their ninth practice of training camp at St. John Fisher College.
Watkins came up limping after running a curl route early in practice. He briefly consulted with receivers coach Phil McGeoghan before leaving the field with trainer Bud Carpenter.
"I over-extended on my route and usually I don’t do that, but that play I did," Watkins said afterward. "I’m fine."
Watkins returned to the practice field after getting re-taped. It looked like he might be done for the day, but eventually returned to practice.
"At first, he wouldn’t let me go, but I was like please let me go test it out so I can steal a couple plays," he said. "And once I caught the ball and ran another route, I was like I’m fine, it’s no problem."
Watkins, who is coming back from a second foot surgery performed in January, said he didn't have any concerns that he might have aggravated that injury.
"Certain things you can’t control. I’m just out here to get better," he said. "My footing got bad. ... If you have poor technique things can happen.
"I’ll be out here tomorrow probably catching passes, scoring. I’ll be fine."
Here's what else we learned from Day Nine:
1. Former Panthers receiver Steve Smith, now an analyst for NFL Network, visited practice. After practice, he addressed the team's receivers.
"Just the business. Just to stay here another day, try to come in every day and make a play," Watkins said of Smith's speech. 'And the importance of just making it a business. These guys, the DBs, are not our friends. I mean, I love them to death, but at the end of the day I have to feed my kids and I have a legacy that I’m trying to chase. He’s just telling me you’re not a bad guy if you’re an [expletive], basically. It was a good speech."
Rookie wide receiver Zay Jones sought Smith out during practice.
"First and foremost, that man’s a legend," Jones said. "Whenever he’s talking, mouths are closed. He was just giving us some tips, really just encouraging us – future hall of famer. It was just really good for a young guy like me to hear."
2. Cordy Glenn returned. The Bills' left tackle practice fully Sunday. Before practice, coach Sean McDermott said Glenn would be "day to day" with foot soreness that caused him to miss practice Thursday and Friday.
Glenn recently received a second opinion on the foot by a renowned Charlotte foot specialist, Dr. Robert Anderson.
"We're always concerned," McDermott said. "You want to look and see what's going on there and we got a good look at it, Dr. Anderson got a good look at things. So Corey's going to practice. We'll see how it goes, and, really, he's day-to-day at this point."
After practice, Glenn said the plan is "just practicing, just being out here with my teammates."
"That's basically it for right now," he said. "That's the plan everyone is going with and we've communicated that with each other. We're all good with that."
Glenn called his injury, which kept him out of spring practices, an "ongoing thing."
"You just have to stay steady, keep doing what you have to do and hopefully be ready for the season," he said, adding that he doesn't believe playing right now puts him at risk of worsening the injury.
3. A pair of starters are making their way back slowly. Defensive end Shaq Lawson (groin) and safety Micah Hyde (hip) participated in individual drills as they make their way back from injury.
In their place, Eddie Yarbrough started at defensive end, while Shamiel Gary got most of the work at first-team safety in place of Hyde. Trae Elston also saw at least one first-team rep.
McDermott explained before practice why Gary has gotten most of the work with the first team.
"He’s earned it. He’s working extremely hard and the work that he’s put in up to that point in time – you know, he wasn’t just moved up because he was just another name," the coach said.
Defensive lineman Ryan Davis (concussion) and tight end Keith Towbridge (foot) did not practice Sunday.
4. Safety Jordan Poyer made a nice interception of a Tyrod Taylor pass. During full-team work, Taylor attempted to get the ball to tight end Charles Clay, but Poyer undercut it to come up with the interception.
5. With Watkins not doing as much, Brandon Tate got some time with the starters. Tate made back-to-back receptions from Taylor during full-team work.
"I'm feeling good, man," Tate said. "Whenever your number is called, just try to make that play."
6. Stephen Hauschka was bombing the ball. After missing a 43-yard field goal Friday night, the Bills' kicker rebounded Sunday. Hauschka drilled a 57-yard field goal to end one drive by the second-team offense, then hit a 48-yarder on the last play of practice.
7. LeSean McCoy is having his workload closely monitored. The Bills know what they've got in McCoy, who looks like he would be ready if the season started tomorrow. That's why it shouldn't be a surprise if they hold him out of team drills during practice and use him sparingly in preseason games.
"I’ve been around LeSean before in his career and my career," McDermott said. "We’ve got some other players on this roster that we need to evaluate and give them opportunities to develop – and we’ll see some of those guys have great opportunities on Thursday night, really. So, it’ll be a chance, an opportunity, for us to perform as a football team and for these young football players to develop."
The daily McCoy highlight came when he turned cornerback Ronald Darby around on a run early in 11-on-11 work.
8. The team will be back at it bright and early Monday. Practice at St. John Fisher begins at 8:45 a.m. The practice is open to the public and does not require a ticket.