PITTSFORD – Zay Jones has some catching up to do if he's going to contribute to the Buffalo Bills this season.
The second-year wide receiver isn't practicing as training camp opened Thursday night at St. John Fisher College, being placed on the non-football injury list the day before. Prior to the first practice of camp, General Manager Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott updated Jones' status.
"I think he's behind," McDermott said. "That's a tough deal that he's gone through. That said, Zay is a guy that's a positive young man and has tremendous mental toughness, so our trainers and Zay have worked extremely hard to get him to where he is today, and then he'll continue to work hard as we move forward, obviously not being with the team on the field going through practices, but going through his rehab."
Beane was blunt in his assessment, saying "he had a rough offseason, but we've moved on and we're ready to go."
Jones had a pair of surgeries during the offseason, first to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in January, then on his knee in May. In between, he had a bizarre arrest in Los Angeles, when police found him naked. Jones' brother allegedly had to prevent him from jumping out of a 30th-floor window. Charges were eventually dismissed.
"I'm not going to get into what it is," Beane said of the exact reason Jones remains out of the lineup. "It was an injury."
By being placed on the non-football injury list, Jones can continue to rehab, but is not eligible to practice until he's placed back on the active roster.
"He's progressing well, we just don't want to rush it," Beane said. "We've been this patient, and he's not quite ready. As soon as the docs give him clearance, he's chomping at the bit. I know he'll be as excited as anybody to get back out there.
Beane said Jones stayed in Western New York during the break following minicamp to rehab.
"We're probably holding him back more than he's holding himself back," the GM said. "We've tried to be patient. It's one of those things, the last thing you want to do is have a setback right now. Not that you couldn't, but we're just trying to be smart. He's getting a lot of mental work. He stayed here the whole summer. Most of these guys got a vacation. Zay's vacation was rehabbing, which is not easy. But he's in a good frame of mind, I think, and super positive despite the setback of having to have that procedure."