Regrets? Leodis McKelvin may have a few. But Monday night, the Buffalo Bills' second-year cornerback and kickoff return ace was unrepentant about his decision to return a kickoff from 2 yards deep in his end zone, which led to a fumble that set up the New England Patriots' game-winning drive.
"I chose to bring it out because that's me," McKelvin said after the Bills' 25-24 loss. "If I had another chance 100 times, I would probably do the same thing. The only thing I've got to do is hold on to the ball."
McKelvin was met by New England's Brandon Meriweather, who was joined by a host of other defenders. His forward progress stopped, McKelvin continue to fight for extra yardage instead of going down. But Pierre Woods stripped the ball out of McKelvin's hands and place-kicker Stephen Gostkowski recovered at the Bills' 31-yard line.
A minute and six seconds later, Tom Brady had the Patriots in the end zone to cap an 11-point comeback in the last 5 1/2 minutes.
"I got hit and tried to cover it up the best way I can," McKelvin said. "Unfortunately, it didn't turn out my way. And the next time I get the opportunity I'm going to hold onto it and just make a better decision."
McKelvin actually fumbled the previous kickoff return, but it was recovered by rookie linebacker Nic Harris. The mishap never entered McKelvin's mind on his next ill-fated return.
"I just have to hold on to the ball," he said. "But if it happens next week, I'm going to do it again. Next week you never know, I might break two. I might have the best game of my career."
Bills head coach Dick Jauron had no problem with McKelvin's decision to return the last kickoff.
"He's a dynamic runner. He's trying to win a football game, ice a football game, and we've seen him do it," Jauron said. "He almost did it there. From the sideline it looked like he was making a particular effort to cover the ball with two hands and somehow it came out of there. It's just one of those things that happens."
The Bills lost a pair of defensive starters in the first half, and at least one of them will be out for a while.
Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny suffered a broken left arm during a Patriots' second-quarter scoring drive. Defensive end Chris Kelsay followed Posluszny to the sideline later in the quarter with a knee injury.
Jauron didn't have an update on Kelsay, but Posluszny said he expects to be sidelined for "several weeks."
"The doctors didn't give me a definite idea [how long he would be out], but they did say it will need surgery and then I'll go from there," said Posluszny, who indicated the injury happened sometime in the second quarter. "But I should definitely be back. From what they told me, it's definitely not an I.R. (injured reserve) thing."
Gillette Stadium has not been kind to Posluszny, who suffered a broken left forearm three games into his rookie year in 2006. That injury sidelined him for the season.
"I got a bad history with this place," he said. "This injury isn't as bad because I only broke one bone instead of the two the last time."
Kelsay was hurt when he was engaged with a blocker. Fellow defensive end Ryan Denney was pass rushing from the right side and as he went down his legs whipped into Kelsay's legs.
Jauron expects to have an update on Kelsay's status Wednesday.
It took 40 minutes and seven seconds before wide receiver Terrell Owens finally made his presence felt in the Bills' offense. His 27-yard catch moved him into sole possession of sixth place on the NFL's all-time career receptions list (he finished with two catches for 46 yards). He previously shared the sixth spot with former Bills great Andre Reed with 951 catches. Owens also extended his consecutive games streak with at least one catch to 184. That is the longest active streak in the NFL.
Marvin Harrison has a catch in 190 consecutive games, but is currently not on a team. But Owens didn't bother to talk about the game or his personal milestone. "You guys are wasting your time. I've got nothing to say," he told reporters crowded around his locker before departing.
Defensive end Aaron Schobel recorded a sack and returned an interception for a touchdown. It was Schobel's third career interception and first since Dec. 4, 2005 at Miami. He joins Kelsay (three) and Ron McDole (six) as the only Bills defensive linemen with at least three interceptions. Schobel, who scored the 75th interception return in team history, is the first Bills D-lineman with a sack and interception in a game since Sam Adams in a season-opening 31-0 win over the Patriots in 2003.
The Bills elevated tight end Jonathan Stupar from the practice squad and released wide receiver Justin Jenkins on Monday. The Bills had only two healthy tight ends because Derek Fine has a hamstring injury.