FREDONIA -- If making the team wasn't hard enough, Jason Bratton is trying to earn a spot on the Buffalo Bills roster at a position he's never played before.
Signed last year as a rookie free agent fullback, Bratton is working with the tight ends during training camp and is challenging for the H-back job in the Bills' new offense.
The H-back usually goes in motion and serves as an extra run blocker at the point of attack. But the position also carries pass protection and receiving duties.
"It's hard, but I'm getting it down," Bratton said following Monday's morning practice at Fredonia State College. "It's a lot different than what I was accustomed to in college, but I'm enjoying the challenge."
Tight ends coach Don Lawrence feels Bratton still has much to learn, but is impressed with Bratton's effort.
"Jason missed a few days with a bad groin, but he was back in there today giving 100 percent like he always does," Lawrence said. "The biggest thing for him would be his assignment knowledge when he's on the line of scrimmage as a tight end, doing all the different things such as counter blocking. When he's in the backfield or when he's motioning, he does a heck of a job as a lead blocker. He excites me. He loves the game of football, he goes 100 percent all the time."
A rigorous offseason training program brought Bratton's weight down 40 pounds to 215. That's quite a drop for a guy who has to block linemen and linebackers.
"It's definitely a disadvantage when I have to block down on linemen and linebackers," Bratton said. "But when I'm running routes, it's an advantage."
If Bratton can master his new craft, his value to the Bills would increase, Lawrence said.
"He's getting the training here (at tight end), and if we ever need him at fullback, he can jump to that spot," Lawrence said. "Versatility is always an asset."
The Bills waived wide receiver Kendall James and defensive back Dwayne Provo on Monday. Head coach Marv Levy said the moves were made because of the depth Buffalo has at those positions.
That leaves the team with 79 players, including place-kicker Carlos Huerta, who is a roster exemption.
Levy said he has not ruled out bringing in two more players.
"It will depend on where we might need some help (because of injuries) or if there is a particularly interesting person out there at a position where we think he would be able to get a lot of reps," Levy said.
The injury list was drastically smaller Monday. Linebacker David White (groin), safety Kurt Schulz (hamstring) and linebacker Paul Lacoste (ankle) were inactive while wide receiver Jimmy Cunningham and defensive back Eric Smedley (muscle pulls) saw limited action.
Another inactive is defensive end Shawn Price, who is out about six weeks with an elbow injury, which occurred when he fell off a motorcycle during the offseason.
Since it's not a football injury, he will not count once the Bills trim down to the 60-man limit. In any case, he will be retained, Levy said.
Monday's practice featured some tremendous throws by quarterbacks Todd Collins, Billy Joe Hobert, Alex Van Pelt and Jim Ballard.
Collins, showing why he is the front-runner at the position, showed a strong and accurate arm on several deep passes.
Smedley made a nice interception while rolling on the ground. John Holecek snatched the ball out of the air for an interception as Andre Reed tried to make a juggling catch.
The Bills were to hold their final double session of the week today at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Levy has not decided on the practice schedule for Wednesday and Thursday.
Buffalo will have a brief workout Friday morning before traveling to Denver for Saturday's preseason opener against the Broncos.