Inside The Bills

Jets sign 2nd former Bill

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2011 – 9:59 am

The New York Jets are at it again signing another former Bills player.

Already with Aaron Maybin on the roster Buffalo has signed TE Shawn Nelson according to a NY Daily News report.

TheJetsStream Jets confirm my reports that TE Shawn Nelson has been signed to active roster and G Matt Kroul & OL Dennis Landolt signed to practice squad
Nelson worked out for the Jets last week. What’s curious is why the Jets waited until now to sign him. With the benefit of the bye week one would think they’d have signed him last week to get him up to speed. Since they didn’t it’s unlikely that he dresses for Sunday’s game at the Ralph.!/TheJetsStream/status/131009406006603777

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-2

Posted by Chris Brown on September 2, 2011 – 10:30 am

I can smell the season opener!  Can’t wait for the Bills to try to exact some revenge on the Chiefs after that horrible overtime game last year. Final cuts are coming on Saturday. Let’s get to your questions from

1 – I was wondering how you see the defensive rotation going forward.  I think both Dareus and Kyle Williams are going to get heavy exposure, but who will be manning the other side? Will that spot still be open comeptition? Where do you see Alex Carington fitting in, and do the coaches think he is ready for a more full-time role?

Thanks again,
Ryan V, Rochester
CB: Carrington will have a bigger role this year, but it will be as more of a pass rushing linebacker in their nickel package, where he’s made some plays this preseason. He will also factor in on some subpackage duty at his more traditional defensive end role.

As far as that starting DE position on the right side, it’s Dwan Edwards’ spot to lose and fellow veteran Spencer Johnson has been pushing him with a strong preseason in his own right. I think Edwards and Johnson both did well this summer and it’ll be up to the coaches to decide who they feel should be the starter.


2 – Chris,
How are we in terms of offensive line depth? I’ve read that after the starters it’s a bit thin & even at least one of our tackles might be average at best. What’s your take?
John H.

CB: I can tell you that even Chan Gailey has said they have no depth, and that they need to develop it in the youth they have on their roster. I think the odds on favorite to be Buffalo’s swing tackle is fourth-round pick Chris Hairston.

He played both left and right tackle in the last preseason game against Jacksonville and did okay for his first game action, having missed the first two preseason games. He’s still got some work to do with his technique, but he’s got experience at left tackle having played there a couple of years in college and is a smart, heady player. The coaching staff clearly likes his potential, so it’ll be down to guys like him, Ed Wang and Cordaro Howard to represent the tackle depth on this roster.


3 – Assuming Byrd is starting at one safety spot, who is the front runner for the other spot? George Wilson? Also, what was the main reason the Bills did not re-sign Whitner? It seems that Searcy is a similar player to Whitner, does that explain his drafting and the letting go of Whit?

Seems as if Naaman is playing well in camp so far, does he have any chance of sneaking into a top 4 receiver spot? 

Buffalo, NY

CB: Lot of questions there. Yes, George Wilson is the starting SS and I don’t see that changing between now and the opener at KC. With Whitner it was a case of him asking for the moon in terms of money and secondly burning some bridges here with the organization. Cleaning out everything from his locker right after exit meetings did not go over well. He wasn’t even on hand for reporters for locker clean out day. I think the Bills already made their decision on him, which in part likely prompted the drafting of Da’Norris Searcy. Searcy however, is a much stouter player than Whitner as he goes about 223 pounds. Whitner was 206.

Roosevelt did have a solid camp before his ankle injury in the Denver game. I’m pretty confident he makes the roster.


4 – Hey Chris,

I am curious about Brad Smith and where he is lining up when he’s not at QB. Is he going to push for the 3rd or 4th Reciever role? or is he mainly a kick returner/ wildcat QB? 

Frank from Jupiter, Florida

CB: I don’t believe that Brad Smith will be full time in any one position. I think he’ll be a slash role player just like Kordell Stewart was. He’ll line up at QB in short yardage situations and Wildcat formations and he’ll split out at WR on occasion and also take part in kickoffs, though this new kickoff rule might render that moot with all the touchbacks we’ve seen. Where do I see him lining up the most? At QB this season.


5 – Chris, 

Thanks for the updates in camp. Who do you think will make the roster of the TE’s in camp? Chandler seems to be the favorite and has caught a lot of balls with the 1st team. Nelson is hurt again. The player that has looked good is Mike Caussin. He seems to maybe be a downfield TE. How many TE’s will make the roster? Will they keep a practice squad player or maybe have 4 TE on the roster. 


CB: Glad you enjoyed our camp coverage. I see the Bills keeping three tight ends. Scott Chandler and veteran David Martin I think are safe bets, but after that it’s the coach’s call in terms of who they like better. Shawn Nelson’s injury hasn’t helped him and yes, Mike Caussin has performed well. Rookie Zack Pianalto has also turned in some nice play at times. Caussin and Pianalto are both practice squad eligible, but I think it’s going to be very close for that third spot.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

TE Nelson to get some time

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2011 – 3:03 pm

Bills TE Shawn Nelson will dress for tonight’s game against the Lions, but how much playing time he gets will be another story.

Nelson only returned to practice this past Monday from an injury that had him miss most of training camp and the first three preseason games. As much as the coaching staff wants to see him get as much game action as possible, two days of practice is not enough to jump into a game and play three quarters without risking re-injury.

So Nelson will see time, but it figures to be limited in nature.

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Returning players limited

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2011 – 6:41 pm

Johnny White, Donald Jones, Roscoe Parrish and Shawn Nelson were all back practicing after long layoffs, but head coach Chan Gailey said they weren’t full go.

“They were limited,” said Gailey. “We’re just breaking them back in slowly. They got to practice today, but we’re going to be very careful with those guys.”

Jones said he was full go in practice Monday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

The inactive players

Posted by Chris Brown on August 20, 2011 – 1:49 pm

Here’s the rundown of the players that will not suit up for tonight’s preseason game against the Broncos.

WR Roscoe Parrish
CB Justin Rogers
LB Kelvin Sheppard
LB Shawne Merriman
OL Chris Hairston
WR Craig Davis
TE Shawn Nelson
LB Chris White

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2011 – 6:38 pm

Here are the players out injured this evening.

WR Roscoe Parrish
TE Shawn Nelson
TE Zach Pianalto
LB Kelvin Sheppard

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Posted in Inside the Bills


Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2011 – 3:03 pm

Here’s the rundown of non-participants at practice.

Roscoe Parrish
Robert Eddins
Shawn Nelson
Justin Rogers

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shawn Nelson still not ready

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2011 – 4:58 pm

TE Shawn Nelson has been a spectator for most of the week after sustaining an injury Monday at the tail end of a run play, and head coach Chan Gailey doesn’t expect him back before mid-week at best.

“He pulled a muscle and he’s probably going to be a couple or three more days at least,” said Gailey.

Nelson will have missed a week of camp by the time he comes back, possibly more, and Scott Chandler and Mike Caussin are turning in plays in the passing game each day. With veteran David Martin also in the fold, Nelson is going to have some ground to make up when he returns.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

WR Jones out

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2011 – 6:20 pm

WR Donald Jones is the latest non-participant on the practice field.

Jones ailment is unknown, but he does have a wrap on his right calf. Here are the other non-participants for tonight’s practice.

Shawne Merriman
Shawn Nelson
Kelvin Sheppard
Justin Rogers
Marcus Easley

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Non-participants at practice

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2011 – 6:54 pm

Here are the non-participants at practice Thursday night.

David Martin, Shawn Nelson and Kelvin Sheppard.

Marcus Easley has a helmet on, but no shoulder pads and just shorts. He hasn’t participated, but he’s watching with the rest of his teammates. Perhaps he will do work on the side. We’ll keep you posted.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

TE Nelson nicked

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2011 – 7:03 pm

Bills TE Shawn Nelson got nicked during team work in Tuesday’s practice when his leg got rolled up a little at the end of a play. He limped off by himself. Head coach Chan Gailey provided an update.

“He tweaked himself there at the end, but I talked to the training staff after practice and they said it was minor so with almost 50 hours before we practice again it gives him a chance to get ready,” said Gailey.

Buffalo’s players have a day off Wednesday and won’t practice again until Thursday night at 7:15 pm.

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Players still trickling in

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2011 – 9:53 pm

TE Shawn Nelson tweeted earlier in the day that he’d be back in Buffalo on Thursday. Now Arthur Moats has followed suit on his twitter account.

dabody52 Time to focus on this movie. Family nite. Last nite n VA. B-lo 2morrow! #dontcrossthemoats

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bicknell wants success for Nelson

Posted by Chris Brown on July 7, 2011 – 8:47 am

For any coach successfully maximizing a player’s potential is the ultimate. That’s what made Shawn Nelson’s 2010 season so frustrating, for him and tight ends coach Bob Bicknell. But both are no doubt hoping 2011 can be a much different story.

Bicknell said he had an end of season discussion with Nelson as he does with all his tight ends. All he wants is success for what he sees as a physically gifted player.

“My job is to help (players) achieve (their full potential) and if I don’t you always feel disappointed because you know Shawn’s a talented player that for whatever the reasons are you’re not tapping into that talent yet,” Bicknell told “So we talked about maximizing his talent where I know and he knows we’re getting the most out of him.” 

Bicknell sympathizes with Nelson’s plight with migraines and does not know if Nelson found a solution this offseason due to the fact that he cannot have contact with him during the current labor situation. He just believes time on the practice field alone is enough to get bigger and better results out of Nelson.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-8

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2011 – 12:59 pm

Let’s get right to your questions this week from

1 – Hey Chris,
First off, just want to take a second and compliment you for all the work you do, as it really helps fans stay as up to date as possible with the Bills, even in the offseason. My question is about the new uniforms that are coming out for next year. Are there any more details out as to when exactly they will be unveiled? Like many fans I’m sure I cannot wait to move on from the old uniforms.
Thanks! Scott from Kenmore

CB: First, thanks for the kind words. With respect to the new uniforms, nothing concrete in terms of an unveiling has been passed along. I would imagine we would need to at least get past the NFL draft before any more information is distributed with respect to the 2011 unis.

2 – The tight end position seems to be ingored by the Bills for years. With Shawn Nelson hurt in much of his career, what is the future of TE position for next year? Chan rarely had tight ends run routes and stretch down the field. He mentioned he was looking for a all around TE ala John Mackey. But the Bills did meet with catching TE Virgil Green at the combine, scouted Rob Housler, and coached a number of them in the Senior Bowl. Do you expect the Bills to draft a pass catching TE in the middle rounds? Or will they go after one like Zach Miller in FA?


CB: With tight end not one of the team’s top 3 needs I think how or where they address that position is going to largely depend on how the draft board falls. Based on Chan Gailey’s comments that most of their nine picks are going to go to the defensive side of the ball coupled with more pressing offensive needs at tackle and quarterback, I just don’t see tight end coming up on day one (round one) or day two (rounds 2 and 3).

Even on day 3, unless an unexpected value falls in their lap at the tight end position I’m not certain they pull the trigger until the later rounds if at all. Buddy Nix said they are looking for an H-back type. Arkansas D.J. Williams, who was at the Senior Bowl on Chan’s South team roster is considered the best H-back in the draft class. He’s forecast as a fourth-round pick.

I know Buddy and Chan are high on Scott Chandler an in line tight end with some pass catching ability who they picked up mid-season last year. He’s a former fourth-round pick himself that Buddy picked for the Chargers back in 2008.

3 – Chris,
If Nick Fairley and Marcell Dareus are off the board before Buffalo is on the clock, who do you see the Bills taking?  I think Peterson can be a great asset to us and an immediate impact both in the secondary and another kick return option (with Spiller, McKelvin, McGee, and Peterson).  However, if we go that route we are leaving out our gaping hole at stopping the run.  Or do we take Bowers or Von Miller.  What is your take?
Rob Best

CB: I believe Von Miller makes the most sense there in that scenario. I really like Dareus a lot and he would be my top choice, but I’d be shocked if the Broncos pass on him. Miller is a pretty darn nice option ‘B’. Two years of proven production and a ridiculous ability to flatten himself out coming around the edge. An instant upgrade for the pass rush, which is needed after the Bills finished 27th in sacks last season.
4 – Hey Chris,
What are you thoughts on what we do with the first three picks?
1)      I think if Dareus is there, he’s a must take pick at three. He’s the BPA, safe, and fills an immediate need.
2)      As for the second round, is there any chance Martez Wilson is there at ILB? He also fills a need and is rated the best ILB in the draft.
3)     As for addressing the QB position, Kaepernick is definitely a project player, but who better to learn from than Fitz?
Coach Gailey loves mobile quarterbacks, and he could potentially be the new type of passer everyone is raving about, due to his ability to extend plays. Plus, you had to love his interview at the combine.
Kyle from PA  GO BILLS!!!

CB: As I stated above Dareus is my personal favorite at 3 if he’s there. The thought of him lined up with Kyle Williams and Dwan Edwards in a 3-4 front is very appealing.

I do think Martez Wilson could be there. I asked Mel Kiper personally where he sees him going and he said in the 33 to 45 overall pick range for what it’s worth. He also offers versatility as he could line up outside as well. Great athlete.

Kaepernick is an easy kid to like. Tons of production, smart, super athlete with the tools, just needs time on the job. Wouldn’t mind him on Buffalo’s roster at all.

5 – Chris,
First I wanted to say thank you for all your combine related articles. Great job.

Concerning the days of the NFL Draft what are the specific mechanisms for one team to contact another for the purpose of trading? Do they each have a telephone, do they use messengers, or some other method (Red or green lights)? Is there a form they both sign accepting the trade terms?
Very Respectfully,
Patrick M. Bald

CB: Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated. Concerning making contact to discuss trades, each NFL club is provided with a draft room phone list for every other team in the entire league. Knowing time can sometimes be short between picks to make trade offers, they try to set up the most instanteous contact system possible.

Contact with another club is sometimes assigned to a member of the personnel staff. For the Bills it might not necessarily be Buddy Nix making the call. It could be VP of College Scouting Tom Modrak, it could be Assistant GM Doug Whaley, it could be Senior VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf.

Buddy would presumably put an offer together and give it to whomever he wanted to make the call. If things were moving in the right direction he then would hop on the phone and finalize details in certain cases.

In terms of receiving calls, the assigned person would handle those as well knowing Buddy is busy keeping track of the board and where their preferences lie.

When deals are completed both teams talk to their representatives in New York City at the draft. Those reps write the terms of the trade down on a form and bring them up to the league desk. Once approved the trade is announced at the podium.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Nelson update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2010 – 12:59 pm

Bills TE Shawn Nelson, who has been placed on the Reserve Non-Football Injury list ending his season, is still at a point where his migraines are a debilitating problem.

Head coach Chan Gailey commented on Nelson’s situation admitting that he’s seen a handful of specialists.

“He’s seen a lot of people,” said Gailey. “It’s just one of those things that hasn’t worked out for him to get healthy enough to play this year.”

Gailey had no details on what the future holds concerning Nelson’s migraine problems.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-10

Posted by Chris Brown on December 10, 2010 – 2:09 pm

Could be a winter weather mess on Sunday for Bills-Browns. In the meantime we answer your questions from

1 – Chris,
With everyone buzzing about Andrew Luck being the Bills quarterback of the future, I have two questions.  My first question is, how are Levi Brown and Brian Brohm looking?  My understanding is that the Bills released Trent Edwards to give more snaps to these young guys and see what they are capable of.  So before start saving up for my Andrew Luck jersey, do you think Brown or Brohm have a chance at stepping up into the role of “the future”?  Second question, As well as Fitz has played, I don’t believe he is the long term solution.  BUT, Do you think he is good enough that the Bills will not draft a QB in the first round?  Instead draft a defensive stud like Marcell Dareus (Alabama) to help in the 3-4?
Bob in Jacksonville, FL
(Rochester native)

CB: I think you can count on GM Buddy Nix not pigeon-holing himself into taking a QB no matter what with Buffalo’s top pick. Luck is the pick if he’s on the board. He’s about as sure a thing to come along since Peyton Manning in terms of NFL success. Not saying he’s going to be him, but Peyton had similar sure fire success written all over him when he came out.

Trent Edwards was not cut to give Brohm and Brown more opportunities. He was cut because he wasn’t the answer. Just because he is not doesn’t mean that Brohm and Brown necessarily are. They have to prove that on the field in practice.

I think there’s some upside to Brown, who still has a lot to learn. Brohm I think showed he’s capable in the preseason. But I don’t know that either of them are the future long term starter for this team.

Fitz has done well for himself this season and could help this team in that role again next season (he’s signed through 2011), but adding a top flight quarterback prospect is still a priority for this franchise in the short term.

Again that doesn’t guarantee that the Bills will take one early. That will depend on how the board falls and who they feel is worth an investment that high in the draft. Luck may prove to be the only worthy candidate in that situation, especially knowing Buffalo has several other positional needs (pass rushing LB, OT, ILB, etc.)

2 – Chris,
Watched the Steelers game and was impressed by Alex Carrington’s play.  Looked like he got a good push off the edge, worked well on containment and pretty much held up his end, especially given the amount of playing time he has had.  Do you see the same things and do you see him getting more playing time during the rest of the season?
As always, appreciate your insights.
Macungie, Pa.

CB: As Chan Gailey has said from the start, Carrington is a bit further along as a rookie against the pass because sacking the quarterback was something he did particularly well at Arkansas State. This is the first time he’s playing in a 3-4, so that’s been an adjustment for him.
Gailey feels he needs to improve against the run a bit, and with Dwan Edwards now lost for the season he’s going to get a lot of valuable experience on the field. I really liked him coming out and I think this kid can be an anchor at end for this team for a long time.

3 – Chris,
I am an avid Bills fan from West Virginia!! (originally from Buffalo). You have been a very big supporter of Lee Evans, and I agree with you that he is a talent!  Would you agree that he may be similar to Trent Edwards in that he demonstrates his physical talent in practice and disappears on game day?  I don’t like that they pay him elite money, and he doesn’t produce as you’d expect.  

With the emergence of Steve Johnson, Donald Jones, and with Roscoe Parrish and youngster Marcus Easley returning next year, do you see any chance that they unload Evans for a low round draft choice just to free up future cap space to reinvest in our front 7 or o-line?  
Thank you and I look forward to hearing your responses!
Jim Eimer

CB: Jim you raise an interesting point. Stevie Johnson’s emergence has unfortunately shed a new light on Lee Evans’ production. He does have trouble getting consistent separation against bump and run coverage and opponents know this. What was once a position of perceived weakness is rounding into a pretty deep group.

As you astutely point out, Easley will return next year and was turning heads in the spring and early in training camp. However, unloading Evans at his current contract level (near $9M per season) would be supremely difficult.
4 – Chris,

Is the NFL Competition Committee going to look at this ridiculous “icing the kicker” stunt, that is employed by NFL coaches, after the season? Time out is called for no other reason than to make the field goal kicker kick the ball a second time -in the hope that he will miss.
It is really not fair to call time out after the kicker has gone through his motion and the ball is in the air. Something needs to be done about this!

CB: I supposed it’s possible that it will be looked at a bit closer now that more coaches are making use of the timeout prior to the snap of the ball. But I’ve talked to Rian Lindell at length about this and he maintains it’s a non-issue for kickers. Here’s what he said about opposing coaches forcing you to kick it a second time with the timeout call.

“It really is a little like golf if you get to re-tee it after the first shot,” said Lindell. “I would think the second shot would probably be better. You get to see how the ball travels if the wind is blowing and if it’s carrying well. And there’s enough time there to go to the sideline and then come back on.

“I think fans believe that we’re obsessing over the kick through the whole timeout, but really I’ve been thinking about that kick since the offense got the ball. It’s not just all of a sudden I’m spending extra time thinking about it. So an extra 30 seconds is not a big deal.”

Lindell has said that other kickers in the league feel the same way. If you remember the only reason he missed that second 53-yarder against Kansas City was because his foot hit the ground before the ball and catching all that dirt slowed the momentum of his follow through. And that kick still hit the upright.

Personally I don’t like it. It cheapens the game, but if kickers don’t mind it, I don’t think it’s going away.

5 – Hi Chris,

I am curious about the nature of football players like Shawn Nelson and Percy Harvin having migraines. Is this football related or genetics? It would be great if you could shed some light on this. Thanks!
Much appreciated.

Stephen A. Naetzker

CB: Being a migraine sufferer myself (2-4 a year), which is not even close to those that Harvin or Nelson experience, I know a little bit about migraines. First of all, research has shown that migraine headaches are often hereditary and affect three times as many women as men.

If one parent has these severe headaches, children have a 50 percent chance of also having them. If both parents have migraines, the chance for a child to be predisposed to migraines goes up 75 percent. Even if a distant relative has migraine headaches, a 20 percent chance exists that any offspring will be prone to migraine headaches.

In talking with Shawn I know his mother suffered from migraine headaches so he was at increased risk to have them as well.

But there are a lot of triggers for migraines as well , such as stress , change in the weather, changes in air pressure (flying in planes), bright sunlight, flickering light from TVs or computers, odors or fumes and eating habits.

As you see there’s a wide range of triggers and migraines themselves range widely in severity. Just know that migraines are now classified as a chronic illness, not a headache. They’re not fun and they can be extremely debilitating. Hope that helps.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

TE Nelson out

Posted by Chris Brown on December 10, 2010 – 12:51 pm

Bills TE Shawn Nelson will not be able to go for the Bills on Sunday.

Head coach Chan Gailey declared Nelson out for this weekend’s game against the Browns. Nelson practiced on Wednesday, but his migraine headaches returned and he missed the rest of the week of practice.

This will be the second straight game missed by Nelson due to his migraine headache problems.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Migraines back for Nelson

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2010 – 3:28 pm

For TE Shawn Nelson, migraines have been a persistent problem, and after being able to practice for the first time in two weeks Wednesday, he was sidelined just a day later.

“He’s still having problems,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “It’s something he really has had for a long time and right now won’t go away.”

Nelson missed three weeks of practice as a rookie in 2009 and has been dealing with migraines for more than a decade. Here’s more on Nelson’s affliction when the excruciating headaches first surfaced in his rookie season with the Bills.

Posted in Inside the Bills

TE Nelson migraine update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2010 – 4:32 pm

Bills TE Shawn Nelson has been dealing with migraine headaches the past two weeks, which has forced him to miss the last two games. Head coach Chan Gailey had some good news concerning the second-year tight end on Monday.

“They’ve subsided,” said Gailey of Nelson’s migraines. “I can’t tell you that it’s 100 percent gone or that he’s 100 percent ready. But he’s feeling a lot better right now.”

Whether Nelson is able to practice let alone play this weekend is still very much up in the air.

Posted in Inside the Bills

2 Bills out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2010 – 3:19 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey declared two of his injured players out for Sunday’s game.

Shawn Nelson (migraines) will miss a second straight game due to his unyielding migraine headaches.

“He’s still struggling,” said Gailey.

Nelson had some episodes with migraines as a rookie as well in 2009.

Eric Wood (ankle) will not play for a second straight week after getting rolled up on a running play in Week 11.

Terrence McGee (knee) is listed as doubtful. If he doesn’t play he’ll miss his seventh game this season with a recurring nerve problem in his leg. Gailey said that team physicians have run a battery of tests in an effort to nail down what’s causing the periodic numbness.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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