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Ryan 'hopeful' Henderson can return from illness

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rex Ryan said Wednesday he was "hopeful" Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson can return from the illness that sidelined him for the final three games of last season.

Henderson was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, although Ryan would only say the player had a "personal thing that he's dealing with."

"Obviously, he's a great physical talent," Ryan said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "And, hopefully, this is just a setback and it's not something that's going to affect his career."

The coach said he had no idea if the Bills would know of Henderson's status before April's NFL Draft, adding that they would leave that up to their medical staff.

However, Ryan insisted that the timetable would not factor into the Bills' draft priority, as far as choosing between an offensive tackle or a defensive end/outside linebacker -- their presumed top need -- with their first-round pick.

"The thing you know about (General Manager) Doug Whaley, and I think he showed it last year is, (he will) draft the best player for our football team," Ryan said. "Don't force a need, an assumed need here or whatever, front seven, whatever it might be. If you go chase a guy and you elevate a (lesser) guy over good football players, you have a tendency to make mistakes.

"If you end up taking the best player, that generally works out well for you."

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