Although Sammy Watkins isn’t fully participating in the Buffalo Bills’ OTA practices as he recovers from surgery early in the year to fix a labral tear in his hip, he is fully engaged.
The second-year wide receiver joins the huddle and then simulates lining up to run a pass route by going to his designated side of the formation but remaining behind the line of scrimmage.
“Mentally, I’ve got to get my reps,” Watkins said after Wednesday’s workout on the field next to the ADPRO Sports Training Facility. “I’m behind. I’m not there every day with the guys running routes. So, mentally, I’ve got to watch the defense, the coverages, watch how things move because I’m going to be coming back soon. And everything’s got to be fast and I’ve got to pick it up.”
Watkins would not specify what “soon” meant, saying he was leaving it to the training staff to let him know when he would be medically cleared to practice. The Bills have five more OTA workouts (Thursday and four more next week – June 8, 9, 10 and 11) and a mandatory minicamp from June 16-18 to wrap up their offseason program, but initial reports from NFL sources had him returning to action for training camp, which begins July 31.
“If it’s early, I’m fine and if it’s late, I’m OK with that,” the receiver said. “Everything is pain free. I’m taking it easy, taking it slow. I’m not doing everything a hundred percent. Basically, getting the time with the reps with the guys is to feel comfortable with myself, get the injury out of my head, so when it comes time for training camp to play and compete, I can compete.”
Watkins has been highly impressed with what he has learned so far from new receivers coach Sanjay Lal.
“I haven’t been on the field that much with him, but my game has improved with just the little things and details,” Watkins said. “You see every receiver now, they’re becoming true receivers and he’s teaching us the way to play the game.”