It has been a tough and frustrating transition to the NFL thus far for Bills wide receiver Marcus Easley. He has yet to appear in a regular season game for Buffalo since being drafted in the fourth round in 2010. A knee injury held him out of his rookie season and he missed all of last season due to a heart ailment. It has not been an easy beginning to his NFL career by any means, but Easley has been anticipating his chance to get back onto the field for some time.
"Anxious is an understatement," said Easley. "Waiting for this opportunity to be able to play professional football and knowing I had two major setbacks, nobody wants to start their career off like that. All of that is behind me and I am just trying to come out here and get better.
"I am just happy to be playing football again. This has been long overdue. Everyone knows the story, but I am just glad to be out here competing and to be back out there with the fellas."
After suffering a season-ending injury two years ago and missing all of last season with an illness it was crucial for Easley to make some changes this offseason. Now that these changes have been made in his life, he feels that he is now more prepared than ever before.
"I am good to go. I really took a different approach this offseason with getting better and with my weight training and my dieting. I'm just hoping to see some of the benefits come from it in the near future," Easley said.
Easley is confident that he can move on from the past and have an impact on the Bills in 2012. He has stayed upbeat throughout this difficult process and he continues to have a positive outlook on his future.
"Just trying to come out here each day, day in and day out to just come in and do my part and try to get better," said Easley. "It's a daily grind and I already understand what has happened the past two years and that is all behind me. I am just staying optimistic about the future."
Stevie Johnson is the clear cut number one wide receiver on the Bills roster. A legitimate number two target has yet to emerge and there is currently an open competition between the other receivers for that spot. Easley understands that it is early in the process, but acknowledges the opportunity he and his teammates have in front of them.
"It was the first day, it was the first day for everybody and right now we still got nine or ten more practices," Easley said. "I am okay with Day one, but there is still a lot more work to do and all of the receivers are out here competing. May the best man win the job when it is all said and done.
"Any opportunity to be out here and compete with your team is good. We are always being evaluated, so you always have to keep that in the back of your mind. You use that in your approach to practice and any opportunity, you're out here to compete."
The beginning of OTAs marked the first time that Easley was able to practice with his teammates since early last September. His impact was immediately felt as he was a constant target during both seven-on-seven and team drills. He had some impressive catches and looked very fluid in his route running. It was important for him to get back out onto the field during OTAs, but he realizes that it is just the early stages to a long NFL season.
"After being out for so long you kind of want to get a start on the right foot. In this game you could have a good day, you could have a bad day," said Easley. "Regardless of the outcome there is always tomorrow, there is always the next practice, there is always the next game. I just have to go watch the film of each practice and see the mistakes that were made and don't really dwell on the good plays too much and move forward."