The path to redemption for Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus just keeps growing.
His expected return in uniform for the start of training camp Sunday was delayed because he did not pass the team's pre-practice conditioning tests.
He was supposed to begin camp after missing all of the team's previous offseason workouts. Coach Doug Marrone said he was benched so he could focus on personal issues. He is working on a peal deal in a drug-related arrest in Alabama and also has been charged in connection with a street racing incident in Orchard Park this past spring.
"Obviously, you want your players to come in ready to go. We're here for a long period of time, so we'll make up for it," Marrone said after Sunday's practice. "He'll be in shape (and) ready to play."
Marrone would not elaborate on why Dareus failed his tests, saying those conversations are between the two of them and it's up to Dareus to explain why. But especially with linebacker Kiko Alonso expected to miss the entire season with a knee injury, the Bills are counting on Dareus to continue emerging as an elite player.
Dareus is coming off his first Pro Bowl season. The fourth-year pro had 7.5 sacks last season and 71 total tackles in 2013 and was one of three Pro Bowlers on the Bills' defensive line.
But he was suspended for part of the final two games for being late to team meetings. Marrone has said he's working with Dareus on and off the field to get him back into shape, and that will hopefully come later this week:
"I just think right now he needs to focus on getting himself ready, getting ready, getting on the field and focusing on football."
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