PITTSFORD — The Buffalo Bills set a franchise record last season by putting 21 players on injured reserve.
So far, they’re on pace to break that record.
Coach Chan Gailey announced after Sunday night’s practice that wide receiver Marcus Easley and linebacker Danny Batten will both miss their rookie seasons due to injury.
“Obviously, it’s not what we wanted,” Gailey said. “It’s just something that had to be done, looking at the long-term prognosis for both of them. We just couldn’t see, time-wise, that it was going to benefit them to try and make it back this year.”
Both players were hurt in the same practice Aug. 2. Easley, a fourth-round pick out of Connecticut who was considered very likely to make the regular season roster, sustained a knee injury that required surgery. Batten, a sixth-round selection from North Dakota State, hurt his shoulder and was originally projected to miss two to six weeks.
The Bills now have to open roster spots. It’s expected that at least one tight end will be signed soon, after the recent revelations that Shawn Nelson will be suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and Derek Schouman could miss up to six weeks with a knee injury.
The team may have gotten even thinner at tight end Sunday, as blocking specialist Michael Matthews hobbled off the field during individual drills. Gailey had no details on Matthews injury after practice, though it appeared he hurt his left ankle.
That leaves Jonathan Stupar as the only healthy body at the position. Stupar, who joined the team as an undrafted free agent two years ago and spent the 2008 season on the practice squad, has been running with the starters since the start of camp. The injuries have provided him even more reps with the reserve units.