After eight missed games, Watkins returns to Bills practice

Sammy Watkins will return to Bills practice
Posted at 10:24 AM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 18:29:10-05

After weeks of outside speculation, the long-awaited return of one of the Buffalo Bills' top players is now reality. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, after having been placed on Injured Reserve following the team's Week Three win over Arizona, returned to the practice field on Wednesday.

Watkins has missed the last eight games due to soreness in his surgically repaired foot -- the last seven of which have been while he's been on I-R. In the buildup to the team's third game against Arizona, Watkins had his foot stepped on during a walk through early in the week and failed to participate in any of the team's official practices that week.

He was made inactive for the game, and the following week, was shut down for the next eight weeks by being placed on I-R.

By having him on the practice field. Watkins automatically takes on the role as the player designated to return from I-R. If deemed ready, he would be eligible to play as early as this weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

The Bills, however, do not have to add him to the active roster immediately, and now have a three-week window to put him on the active roster. If they do not activate him by December 14, he will be shut down for the remainder of the season.

After the practice, Watkins told reporters that he was grateful for the time away both let his injury heal all the way, and for him mentally as well.

"At first I was upset, angry, mad but it’s honestly been a blessing to sit out and heel my body and mentally get over that hurdle like I said with the injury," Watkins said. "I’m not injured anymore, I want to just say I’m over that and I’m just trying to move forward and play."

Watkins would not commit to playing on Sunday against Jacksonville, however.

The Bills resume practice on Thursday morning.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia