BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Mitch Morse still hasn't had a complete and typical preseason in Buffalo. His first with the Bills included an off-season surgery and a concussion. His second has been marred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the offensive line grew into a strength for the Bills in 2019. After re-signing Quinton Spain, it looked like the same could be expected for 2020. But Jon Feliciano's torn pectoral has thrown a wrench into the continuity Buffalo was hoping for.
"It's never a good time, right?" center Mitch Morse said. "We all knew that being able to get a veteran in throughout the season or before the season was going to be a premium this year just because of the COVID situation and meeting times."
Enter Brian Winters. The veteran is staying in the AFC East after a seven-year stint with the New York Jets and is yet another experienced presence along the interior of the offensive line.
"I'm excited for a new start," Winters said. "I'm going to do whatever I can to help this team. I have to start with the playbook, learn all of my teammates' names, and work my way up."
Winters, however, won't have to study up on Orchard Park, or the surrounding area, for that matter. He's had family in Western New York for years, and that was a part of decision to come to Buffalo.
"My aunt and uncle live in East Aurora. My mom and dad actually lived right here in Orchard Park for eight years or so," Winters said. "They lived right down the road from the stadium, and they used to walk to games. So I've got some history here."
But the history that matters most is what happens at One Bills Drive. In the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the league's restrictions, whatever time the team can get together is that much more valuable.
"You really have to take in the time you have in this building, whether it's on the field or off the field, and make it as effective as possible," Morse said. "But also, if a guy's got to come in and get going and learn, you have to do that."