Fast approaching the end of a season that has been compromised by several season-ending injuries there have been a few positive developments. Kyle Williams will not only recover fully from his most recent Achilles surgery to remove a bone spur, but should be even better having played with the ailment since college. More positive news on the injury front came down on Wednesday as second-year wide receiver Marcus Easley will be able to continue his football career.
Easley has understandably chosen to keep the medical condition that forced him to injured reserve at the start of the 2011 season private. He and team physicians dealt with the issue internally. All along however, fans have been concerned that the medical condition might keep him from ever playing football again.
Bills head coach Chan Gailey said that will not be the case come 2012. When asked if Easley would be medically cleared to play football again the team's sideline boss answered quickly in the affirmative.
"Oh yeah," said Gailey. "Oh yeah, no question."
Buffalobills.com spoke to Easley shortly after Gailey revealed that Easley's playing career would continue and the receiver confirmed the positive development.
"At this point it's definitely looking good," Easley said. "The doctors gave me the okay. At this point I'm just working my way back to get back in football shape."
Already cleared to do football related activities now, Easley has been at One Bills Drive for the better part of the last six weeks working out and running routes. He expressed confidence that he would be cleared to play football come next spring when the team returns for OTA workouts.
After missing his rookie season with a severe knee injury that required surgery, Easley was eager to contribute in his second NFL season. He provided a promising performance in the team's third preseason game against Jacksonville with five receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Two weeks later Easley pulled himself out of Buffalo's Friday practice prior to the team's season opener at Kansas City. Tests revealed an undisclosed medical condition that would eventually land the receiver on injured reserve for a second straight year.
After a battery of tests the cause of the medical condition was pinpointed and subsequently remedied.
"For a little while when it first happened it was obviously a shocker because it was so random," said Easley. "The situation was dealt with and has been taken care of and it's just a matter of moving forward with it. At this point now I've been around here for a little while and just slowly working my way back with working out and getting myself back to where I need to be."
Easley's abilities were sorely missed in Buffalo's offense this season. He likely would have been a reserve wideout to start the season with more experienced players like Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones, David Nelson and Roscoe Parrish on the roster. Had he been able to stay healthy however, one could argue that at this point in the season he'd be serving as the number two wideout opposite Johnson on the outside.
Blessed with 4.39 speed and a 6'2" 225-pound frame, Easley was seen as a much needed deep threat for Buffalo's passing attack. Now that his medical condition has been rectified there's still hope that can come to fruition. The only catch is it will have to wait until 2012.
Gailey did make it clear that with the medical problem out of the way, it's all on Easley to make it happen.
"That's up to him," said Gailey. "We're going to give him every opportunity, but that's up to him. Every player gets an opportunity, but it's what they do with that opportunity… that's up to him."
Knowing his body has robbed him of two chances already, one can only imagine how determined Easley will be to be a regular contributor come next season. A season where Easley undoubtedly hopes the third time is a charm.