Taiwan Jones needed 11 stitches to close the cuts on his forehead, but the Buffalo Bills' running back knows things could have been much, much worse.
Jones never lost consciousness and did not suffer a concussion during one of the scariest plays to take place on New Era Field in recent memory. After recovering a muffed punt Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, Jones was swarmed by tacklers. As he tried to spin away, his helmet got ripped off.
Instead of the play correctly being blown dead by officials, Jones kept fighting to advance the ball out of the end zone, avoiding what he thought would be a safety. That is until Chargers linebacker Unchenna Nwosu ran full-speed directly into Jones' head.
"I definitely feel blessed to be able to walk away from that," Jones said this week. "We see guys that get hit like that with their helmet on and some guys don't get up under their own strength."
Jones was a limited practice participant Thursday. He was able to put a helmet on for the first time since being hurt.
"It's kind of one of those day-to-day things," Jones said. "Each day I've been feeling pretty good. As you can imagine, I've got a lot of soreness in my neck."
Like most other people who watched the play live, Jones thought at the time he needed to get the ball out of the end zone. He was told later that because the punt was muffed by Marcus Murphy, the Bills never had possession, so the correct ruling was a touchback.
"I was kind of upset at myself because I allowed the guy to make that tackle on Murph, " Jones said. "I felt like if I just did my job it would have prevented all that from happening. I was kind of upset at myself."
As soon as a player loses his helmet, officials are supposed to blow the play dead. For some reason, that did not happen in this case. Jones, though, did not place blame on the officials.
"I don't think there was enough time for the refs to be able to blow it dead," he said. "It was a bang-bang play. I don't think the other guy had time to pull up. His head was down unfortunately. I don't think it was a dirty play at all."
Nwosu apologized to Jones for the play the day after the game.
"I appreciate that a lot. I didn't think it was on purpose," Jones said. "I feel real fortunate. As soon as I came out of my turn, I saw him coming, but without enough time to move, so I knew it was going to be bad. For me to have been conscious the whole time and understand what happened, and to be able to get up from that, I definitely feel blessed."
Jones wore a red non-contact jersey at Thursday's practice, as did fellow running back LeSean McCoy, who is dealing with an injury to his ribs.
"I thought he did some good things," coach Sean McDermott said of McCoy. "He moved around a little bit better than yesterday, so it's a step."
McCoy wore additional protection for his ribs Thursday, something he's likely to do Sunday if he's able to play.
"At the end of the day, the medical staff shares their opinion with me, and we make sure it's safe for the player to play," McDermott said. "We leave the decision ultimately up to the player. That's the right thing to do."
Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was upgraded from a limited participant Wednesday to taking part in the full practice Thursday. Cornerbacks Phillip Gaines (elbow) and rookie Taron Johnson (shoulder) were both limited for a second straight practice, as was rookie receiver Ray-Ray McCloud (knee).
Defensive Shaq Lawson did not participate for a second straight practice.
Former Bills cornerback Vontae Davis spoke publicly for the first time since his shocking retirement during halftime of Week 2. In an interview with ESPN's The Undefeated, Davis told former NFL player Domonique Foxworth that "my intention was not to hurt my teammates. In that moment, my intuition was telling me I don't belong on that field anymore."
"Leaving was therapeutic," Davis said in a follow-up text message to Foxworth. "I left everything the league wanted me to be, playing for my teammates while injured, the gladiator mentality, it all just popped. And when it popped, I just wanted to leave it all behind. So that's why I don't care what people say. That experience was personal and not meant for anyone else to understand. It was me cold turkey leaving behind an identity that I carried with me for so long."