Former Tiger Sammy Watkins says he’s ‘definitely’ playing against Jets
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills receiver Sammy Watkins said his surgically repaired left foot feels fine, and he’s ready to play against the New York Jets on Thursday night.
“I’m definitely going to be out there playing,” Watkins said Monday, putting to rest concerns he experienced a setback during a13-7 season-opening loss at Baltimore.
“I got it checked out, and I’m fine,” he said, referring to tests conducted on his foot following the game Sunday.
“I just felt like it was tired, and I just wanted to make sure,” Watkins said. “So it’s no particular reason why I did it. I just felt I needed to do it. And if I need to do it again, I’m probably going to do it every week.”
Watkins spoke after attending a walk-through practice session that was closed to reporters. Though it’s unclear whether Watkins participated, he walked off the field showing no signs of a limp.
He spent a few minutes on the sideline flexing his foot while talking to the team’s head athletic trainer, Shone Gipson, before making his way to the locker room.
“I don’t know if I’m around 100 or 95 percent or whatever,” said Watkins, who had two screws inserted into his foot in April to repair a stress fracture. “I feel great. I can go out there and compete at the highest level.”
The playing status of starting left tackle Cordy Glenn is less certain.
Without revealing the severity of Glenn’s injury, coach Rex Ryan said the player hurt the same left ankle that forced him to miss three weeks of training camp.
Glenn was not spotted in the locker room following practice. The fifth-year player is Buffalo’s top-paid offensive lineman after he was re-signed to a five-year, $65 million contract in May.
As for Watkins, Ryan said the receiver complained to trainers that his foot felt sore after the game.
“We’ll see how he progresses,” Ryan said. “I’m hoping he plays, and we’ll see.”
The injury concerns come at a time when Buffalo’s offense managed 160 yards against Baltimore — Buffalo’s fewest in a decade.
It was a listless performance for a Tyrod Taylor-led attack that returned mostly intact after leading the NFL in rushing last season.
Instead, the Bills took a significant step back in combining for just 11 first downs — the team’s fewest since it managed 10 in a 45-3 loss at San Francisco on Oct. 7, 2012 — and 65 yards rushing.
Taylor was limited to throwing short passes and attempted just one throw beyond 20 yards. It was a 40-yard completion to tight end Charles Clay and only after Taylor scrambled out of trouble.
Ryan acknowledged being disappointed with his offense, while noting the Bills have little time to regroup while playing twice in five days.
“We’ve got to come up with something,” said Ryan, noting Jets have a strong defense. “We have to be a lot better or it can get ugly against this group.”
Watkins was limited to four catches for a team-leading 43 yards against Baltimore.
Watkins said he felt “rusty” and acknowledged he needs to play better.
The Bills were cautious easing Watkins back into practice last month.
The injury is the latest setback for Watkins, who hasn’t been healthy entering a season since Buffalo traded a first-round draft pick to Cleveland to move up five spots to select him with the fourth pick of the 2014 draft.
He was hampered by a rib injury during his rookie season. Last season, he was slowed by ankle and calf injuries.
When healthy, Watkins can be a dynamic threat. He closed last season combining for 35 catches for 679 yards and six touchdowns in Buffalo’s final six games.
The Bills added bulk to their offense by re-signing fullback Jerome Felton about 10 days after the ninth-year player was among the team’s final cuts.
Buffalo initially signed Felton to a four-year contract in March 2015. The Bills, however, used mostly a one-man backfield which led to Felton being used sparingly last season.
To make room, Buffalo released fullback Glenn Gronkowski, the younger brother of New England star tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Glenn Gronkowski was an undrafted rookie free agent, who played just eight snaps against Baltimore.