The Buffalo Bills' highest-paid player has played in zero of their first seven games. He vows that streak will end Sunday against the Patriots.
"Oh my god. I’m playing Sunday, man," defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said Wednesday. "I can’t wait. I’m ready to enjoy myself. Just happy to be out there with the guys. Running around, feeling good. We’re ready to go pull it off, man, we’re going to make it happen."
Dareus was suspended for the first four games and then missed the last three with a hamstring injury he picked up while chasing a backup quarterback in a Friday practice. That led to questions about how much Dareus worked out during his suspension, but he doesn't believe he shorted himself in that area.
"I did whatever the team needed me to do," Dareus said. "Whatever our trainers requested of me, whatever our strength coaches felt was best, stuck to a strict plan and hopefully this time it works because I don’t need any more minor setbacks. I’m ready to play, man. Sitting on the bench isn’t even fun."
The Bills are 4-3 without Dareus, but they certainly could've used him Sunday against the Dolphins. Running back Jay Ajayi gashed the Bills for 214 yards, just 15 shy of the all-time record against Buffalo.
"It’s pretty hard sitting there and not being able to help," Dareus said. "It was a point where being the biggest cheerleader didn’t matter. I really just wanted to be out there. I always want to help more than just pep the guys up. It was a tough game."
Rex Ryan said he expects the Patriots to play up-tempo and use a lot of empty backfields Sunday, which makes it imperative that Dareus and the defensive linemen get pressure on Tom Brady. Otherwise Ryan will have to take players out of coverage to bring a blitz.
"Getting Shaq (Lawson) back last week, he’s got a game under his belt, now getting ‘Cell back is going to be huge for us," linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. "Just more bodies to throw at their offensive line and continue to try to bother Brady as much as possible when he’s in that pocket."
"Obviously he’s one of the best players at his position in the league," Ryan said, "so it’d be a big boost for us if he’s ready to play."