He made the most of an opportunity as a walk-on at the University of Connecticut and his eye-popping statistics in his senior season got him on the NFL draft map. After the Bills made Marcus Easley a fourth-round pick last spring, the receiver could not have been more ecstatic. Three months later a knee injury ended Easley's first NFL season before it began.
"I pretty much went from an ultimate high to an ultimate low all in the same season," said Easley. "I'm kind of still dealing with it, but as this season is concluding it's time to start thinking about next season and just move forward with it."
Easley suffered a knee injury early in training camp when his knee buckled on him. He tried to fight through the next camp practice, but then landed hard on the injured knee and couldn't do much after that. Surgery would be required.
"From what I described when I first got injured to what they actually saw when they went in there, they think it could've been something that happened a while back," said Easley. "It just wasn't enough to keep me out of football. They went in, fixed the problem and did what they had to do. Hopefully there are no issues from here on out."
His surgery was considered significant as he had a scope to repair loose and damaged cartilage in his knee. Only around the first week in December did he finally feel back to 100 percent.
"I'm as close to 100 percent as I think I'll be," Easley said. "I feel real good now. I feel a whole lot stronger. I'm just trying to move forward mentally and finish out the season strong and wish the guys the best and hopefully have an even more productive offseason."
Easley has rehabbed at One Bills Drive and sat in on position and team meetings all season in an effort to keep pace with the evolution of the offense in year one under head coach Chan Gailey.
"They were real big on me staying around not only to rehab, but to figure out the whole culture of the league and what it's like," he said. "It's unfortunate that I couldn't participate, but I tried to take full advantage of this time not only physically, but handling the whole mental aspect of the playbook and what it's like to just grind week in and week out. At this point in time we've got a week left and I'm happy to say I've definitely moved forward with everything."
The UCONN product credits his family for support and has appreciated the positive reinforcement he's received from the coaching staff and his fellow receivers. What has only inspired and motivated all the more for next season is seeing what the other rookie wideouts have done in their first NFL campaign.
"It's a shame that I can't be out there rolling with the guys," he said. "Stevie (Johnson) had a really good year. David (Nelson), Naaman (Roosevelt) and Donald (Jones) have all stepped in and made plays when their number was called. Hopefully next year at this time I'll be able to do the same thing."
"It's kind of like a redshirt year. I looked at it as just another year where I was able to sit back and observe, but at the same time work on the things I needed to work on. And hopefully I'm even more valuable next year."