When looking at the high number of injuries suffered on the Bills roster thus far, one would think the bye week is a perfect stretch of time to recuperate bodies and unwind from the NFL's daily rigors. This is true for several players, looking to gain a clean bill of health for the season's second half, but others are staying close to the game during the upcoming weekend.
A handful of Bills players are spending part of their five day break taking on the role of fans as they will travel to the stadiums of their alma maters Saturday afternoon.
It's a rarity for NFL players to have an opportunity to attend such events, considering their schedules and priorities during the season, but it just so happens the layoff falls on a weekend where a few Bills can witness quality matchups. This served as extra motivation to trade in the relaxation at home for a front-row view of their former college teams.
Jonathan Scott, who started 45 games at right tackle for Texas, will be on hand as the No. 2 Longhorns (8-0) welcome Central Florida. After entering the league in 2006, Scott has never witnessed a Texas game in person because of bye week conflicts.
"I do plan on checking out my Longhorns on Saturday. They've got Central Florida this week, which isn't a big game, but I've never seen Texas play on my bye week," Scott said. "I've never been to one. It seems whenever I've had a bye week they've been away somewhere far like Kansas State."
Scott hopes to make the most of his trip by enjoying the newest amenities of expansive Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium—the friendly confines in which he battled opposing defensive lineman for four seasons.
"I haven't seen the new scoreboard and now they can seat 102 thousand fans and when I was there they could only seat 85 thousand," he said. "And they've got a brand new locker room so I'm going to take the tour."
Although Chris Kelsay attended one Nebraska game since he was drafted in 2002, he always cherishes the opportunity to watch his former team. The break came just in time for Kelsay to catch the Cornhuskers battle Oklahoma, with both teams battling for high seeds in their respective Big 12 divisions.
"It's only the second time in my career that it's actually worked out on my bye week to have a home Nebraska game, so I'm excited to watch them," Kelsay said.
Aaron Maybin is attending perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the weekend in State College, Pa. as Penn State takes on Big Ten rival Ohio State. While both teams are hovering around the middle of the Top 25 rankings, this contest holds significant ramifications in conference play and a high bowl game. Both teams have four conference victories apiece.
That is why Maybin, who recorded 12 sacks as a junior last season for the Nittany Lions, is excited to finally return. Except this time he will be at a different vantage point than rushing opposing quarterbacks.
"I'm going home to get the house in order and then head back to Penn State on Friday," Maybin said. "It's the first time I'm going to be able to actually watch a game and be a fan. I'm kind of excited to get up there and see some of the old teammates, the coaches and hopefully they'll come up with a big win."
Traveling as far from Buffalo as possible is Trent Edwards, who planned to spend time in his home state of California. Tonight Edwards plans to attend what he calls a "huge game" at his high school in Los Gatos, followed by taking in the Stanford-Oregon matchup Saturday.
One element of the games each player attends is the luxury of standing on the sidelines and other privileges that comes with their pro status.
"They take care of me. You can stand on the sidelines, but they'll have me up in a suite with my wife," said Kelsay. "I'll do the whole wave to the crowd thing during the game. They take pretty good care of their ex-players."
Scott said he isn't looking for first class treatment, just a spot to stand on the Texas side of the field.
"That's kind of the rule of thumb. Back when I was playing I would see alumni come back and watch from there so I'll be looking for my spot," he said. "I helped them win a fourth national championship so that's all I ask, a spot on the sidelines. I'm not looking for a steak dinner."