Manuel Returns To Practice

Manuel Returns To Practice

Spiller also back in Buffalo
The Bills got another positive sign regarding E.J. Manuel's chances to start the season opener against New England.

Manuel was back on the practice field Sunday, just two weeks after having an undisclosed surgical procedure on his knee. He was sporting a brace on his left knee and only participated in individual drills, but it was progress.

Head Coach Doug Marrone still says the final decision on the quarterback for his first game coaching the Bills will come Wednesday. "He looked good," Marrone said. "We were excited about (practicing today)."

Manuel said he's never had a knee problem before. It also took him a while to get used to the new brace. "It felt great to be back with my teammates and not rehabbing," Manuel said. "I definitely want to be back and help the team... if I'm healthy enough, I'd be more than happy to play."

The Bills also welcomed C.J. Spiller back to the team facility. Spiller spent last week at home in Florida attending to family after his step-grandfather shot four people and killed two before ending his own life with a gun last weekend.

Spiller did not practice, but was happy to see his Bills family again. Marrone and Spiller shared an embrace after practice. "The whole staff, and the players, its been great support," Spiller said. "I want to be around my guys, practice, get ready for New England."

The shooting happened in the morning before the Bills played their third preseason game at Washington. Spiller was told of the tragedy and still played in the game, scoring the Bills only touchdown. "It was very emotional. I found out before the game," Spiller said. "My decision was to play. I want to thank everybody for their condolences."

Fred Jackson was one of many Bills to express their support for Spiller Sunday. "I'm glad to have [Spiller] back here and hopefully we can get his spirits back up," Jackson said. "I told [Spiller] he's not a teammate, he's like a little brother to me. I did everything to help him through the tragedy."

Spiller will return to practice on Monday and he will be in the lineup against the Patriots. "I'd be lying if I said I put it behind me," Spiller said. "Once I touch the field, my whole focus is on football.. that's what my family wants."

Jairus Byrd is also nursing a sore foot and did not practice. Marrone says he's still working his way back.

The Bills did add a cornerback Sunday. Buffalo signed Brandon Burton just hours after he was cut by the Vikings. Burton was a 5th round pick in the 2011 by Minnesota and played in 14 games over the last two seasons with very little production. Buffalo still has two open slots on the 53-man roster.

There were five signings to the Bills practice squad, including QB Thad Lewis, who is the only healthy quarterback in Buffalo with NFL playing experience. Granted, it was all of one game. Buffalo also added defensive linemen Jamie Blatnick and Izaan Cross, wideout Tommy Streeter and guard Mark Asper.

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