Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel took part in his first full practice Monday since hurting his knee more than two weeks ago. DB Jim Leonhard was signed, meanwhile, to fill one of the two remaining active roster spots on the team.
Manuel shared first-team reps Monday with Jeff Tuel, who will start Sunday's season opener if Manuel isn't designated ready to play. Coach Doug Marrone said he will determine by Wednesday whether Manuel will play, based on how he progresses physically and mentally:
"We’re going through a process, nothing right now that seems to slow him down. Couple of things that we’re testing as the week goes on to see where he’s at. Mentally we feel fine, it’s just a matter of physically. He went out there and did a nice job, so that’s where he is."
In either case, the Bills will start a rookie quarterback Sunday. Marrone showed no hesitation about that Monday:
"I’m excited about it. I’m sure that a lot of the people here that have been interviewing Jeff, been interviewing EJ and have watched them on the field both in the preseason and practice. (They) would be excited, to,o to see what they’re going to do in a game-type situation."
While the offensive backfield remains a bit unstable, the Bills brought in Leonhard to help shore up the defensive backfield. The safety previously played for the Bills from 2005-07. He went on to the Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets and Denver Broncos last season.He has 344 tackles, eight interceptions and 27 passes defended in 110 games. More importantly, though, he has experience in defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's system when he coached the Jets.
His signing leaves one opening on the 53-man roster. Marrone said he's talked to GM Doug Whaley about it and said they might gravitate toward another offensive linemen. He stressed, though, no decision is close to being made.
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