Both players realize time is of the essence. One loss could end the Buffalo Bills’ playoff hopes. So inside linebacker Nigel Bradham and right guard John Miller speak with urgency in their voice.
On defense, Bradham plans on testing his ankle injury at practice Wednesday. Right now, his goal is to return Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I’m shooting for this week,” Bradham said. “But I’m not 100 percent sure.”
He’s giving himself a realistic shot to play, too.
“Most definitely,” he continued. “I’m not going to count myself out. But I’ll know later this week how I can cut and everything like that. … I pretty much have to listen to the doctors for the most part but my plan is to try to get out there this week.”
Bradham was originally injured in the Bills’ loss at Kansas City, an injury coach Rex Ryan said kept a hockey player out eight weeks. He compared the linebacker to a Jeep, saying “as long as you got one or two lug nuts on it he is going to play.”
Miller isn’t as close to returning. The rookie said he’s dealing with a high ankle sprain and is taking it day to day. While he won’t be ready to return this week against Philadelphia, Miller does expect to be back this season.
“The thing with this is you think it feels good one week and then the next week it gets sore,” Miller said. “It lingers. … I’ll definitely be back sometime this year. For sure. Maybe not this week. But maybe next week or the week after that. But I’m definitely not going to sit out the whole year for this.”
Bradham was replaced in the lineup by rookie Tony Steward, who then suffered a back injury himself. With Ryan hinting that those who didn’t finish Buffalo’s win Sunday won’t be ready to return, that would mean Kevin Reddick would start at inside linebacker if Bradham is unable to return.
Meanwhile, at guard, veteran Kraig Urbik has performed well. The Bills doubled J.J. Watt throughout the game and the defensive player of the year candidate was not a factor. Buffalo ripped the Texans’ front seven, one full of first-round picks, for 187 rushing yards on 36 attempts. Miller called it “awesome” to watch this all, that the Bills “moved the ball at will and looked unstoppable” at times.
LeSean McCoy is set to make his return to Philadelphia this week. The Bills running back is scheduled to speak with reporters here on Wednesday, but got this week started with an appearance on 94WIP in Philadelphia.
And, via NJ.com, McCoy was asked about the comments he made after being traded by the Eagles and coach Chip Kelly, when he told ESPN The Magazine “there’s a reason he got rid of all the black players – the good ones – like that.”
“Some things you may say from anger, and I was definitely angry,” McCoy told the radio station, “but I’m not going to change anything I say. I stand by everything I said before. I don’t have no problems with Chip or nothing like that. No hatred. But I stand by it. I don’t take it back.”
McCoy tried to make it clear he did not call Kelly a racist.
“I’m not going to make it a racist thing, a black or white thing,” he said. “I’m not going to get into that topic. It’s old. It is what it is. People want to take it that way, they can. If you really know me, you know who I am. I embrace all people and all colors.
“I’m just honest. If they want to take it that way, that’s fine.”
There’s some obvious friction between the two. So far, the Bills have been the winners of the offseason trade involving McCoy and linebacker Kiko Alonso. McCoy battled a hamstring injury through September, recovered, and has 792 yards on 173 carries with three touchdowns with another 249 receiving yards and two scores in 10 games. Alonso, who missed five games with a knee injury, has 21 tackles and an interception.
“One thing about myself, I will take back nothing I say,” McCoy said. “I have my own reasons to feel how I felt. The difference between me and other players is, they won’t say how they feel. I’m different. I speak how I feel. But I don’t want to relive it. I say what I said. It is what it is. I have no issue with Chip. I don’t have no hatred towards him.” But “we aren’t best friends or nothing like that.”
Two days after duping the Houston Texans on the Bills’ game-winning touchdown, tight end Matthew Mulligan has been released. Buffalo is going younger at its backup tight end spot, promoting rookie Nick O’Leary from the practice squad.
Quite possibly, another team made a push to sign O’Leary and Buffalo didn’t want to lose him.
The 6-foot-4, 267-pound Mulligan has been used as an extended lineman this season, playing 14 snaps in the 30-21 win and a quarter of the team’s total snaps this season. On Charles Clay’s game-winning 40-yard touchdown, Mulligan shot out of his stance like a 100-meter sprinter to draw two defenders and leave the middle of the field wide open for Clay.
The 6-foot-3, 252-pound O’Leary didn’t stand out in training camp, but was drafted in the sixth round after a decorated collegiate career at Florida State. The grandson of Jack Nicklaus caught 81 passes for 1,175 yards and 13 touchdowns his final two seasons in Tallahassee.