After an 0-2 start, some fans of the Buffalo Bills were preparing for the worst for the 2016 season. Spurred on by a renewed defensive effort and a change at offensive coordinator, the Bills have battled back to even their record at 2-2 -- and now help is on the way.
The Bills are through the first quarter of the season, which means star defensive lineman Marcell Dareus is officially eligible to return from his four-game suspension for violation the NFL's substance abuse policy. Dareus, through the team, announced that he would be seeking the help of rehab in his time away and missed the team's final two weeks of the preseason in addition to his four-game suspension.
Having been away for a total of six weeks, the defensive lineman staying off the roster with the one-week exemption rule was at least a mild consideration. However, that's not in the plans -- as far as the Bills are concerned, that is.
While head coach Rex Ryan wasn't sure how much Dareus would be able to play in the Week Five contest versus Los Angeles, he did say that without question, Dareus would be in the lineup.
The same goes for first-round pick and rookie outside linebacker Shaq Lawson -- only delayed two weeks. Lawson is on the Physically Unable to Perform list after having offseason shoulder surgery, and is eligible to return to the team as early as Week Seven.
Sometimes there are complications that delay some players on the PUP list, but Rex Ryan said Lawson is "ready to roll," expected to play the first week he's available, and has reacted well to a heightened workload over the past few weeks.
Like Dareus, though, Lawson isn't expected to step in and have a huge role immediately. The rookie may only be a rotational player at the start, and building himself back up towards becoming a full-time starter later on in the season.
There was not as much certainty for offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, however. The offensive tackle is now eligible to return following his four-game suspension, but the Bills head coach was unsure if he'd be able to play in Week Five.
Henderson has been dealing with Crohn's disease since the end of last season, and finally got back on the field near the end of training camp. If he is unable to return for Week Five, the Bills have a one-week suspension roster exemption until next Monday, meaning they don't have to release someone for Henderson just yet.
As for the spot Dareus will take on the roster, the Bills said they will likely wait until the end of the week to make a decision as to who will get released.
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