It was among the bigger storylines going into Sunday's season opener against the Jets. Andre Roberts, a 2018 Pro Bowl return man, set to face his former team. But following Friday's practice, Bills head coach Sean McDermott confirmed that his primary returner would not be fit to play in Sunday's game against New York after sustaining a quad injury on Monday in practice.
"Andre is going to be out for the game," said McDermott. "He didn't practice so he's out for the game. We have to be smart with Andre's situation right now. He's got to maximize his treatment opportunities, which I know he will. Injuries happen, so it's next man up and a great opportunity for someone to step up and step in."
As for candidates to replace Roberts in the return game Sunday on kickoffs and punts, Buffalo is not short on candidates.
"We've got some options there," said McDermott. "Whether it's (Robert) Foster, Devin Singletary, (Isaiah) McKenzie, (Micah) Hyde. We've got some guys who have some experience there."
At practice on Friday, Cole Beasley was another player who appeared to be a candidate on punt returns. Beasley also has experience in the return game, with 38 punt returns in his career, including 11 last season for Dallas.
McKenzie logged 14 punt returns for the Bills last season, while Hyde handled nine.
Singletary has experience as a kick returner, but has not done it since his freshman season in college. Special teams coordinator Heath Farwell liked what he saw from Singletary in training camp in that area.
"He's done it in practice," said Farwell of return reps for Singletary. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to get him any reps in the preseason, but he's very talented. You see him on offense, same thing in the return game. He's very valuable and could be a good returner in this league. We have a bunch of guys that we can put back there and feel comfortable with."
As the Bills prepare to close the 2019 regular season against the New York Jets, scroll through to view photos from previous matchups between the two opponents.
Tyler Kroft doubtful
TE Tyler Kroft practiced again on a limited basis Friday as he closes in a return to full action. But for Sunday's season opener he is listed as doubtful.
"He's done a great job just in terms of his rehab and with the medical staff and the work he's put in," said McDermott. "He works hard and I know it's important to him."