Bills free safety Jairus Byrd has been limited in practice all week long as he tries to get his ailing feet back to 100 percent health. On Friday Doug Marrone painted a bleak picture for the Pro Bowl safety concerning his chances of playing in Sunday's season opener against the Patriots.
"Byrd has the foot that we're all aware of and he's doubtful," said Marrone following Friday's practice.
If Byrd is unable to dress and play his absence would certainly take a quality player out of the equation for Buffalo's defense, but Mike Pettine's unit has operated without him since the spring. Aaron Williams and Da'Norris Searcy have been manning the two starting roles at safety for most of the offseason.
Buffalo also signed veteran safety Jim Leonhard, who is familiar with the Bills defensive scheme even though it has undergone some changes since he last played in it in 2011.
"Playing in the system for four years, it's going to one help with my learning curve, and then two how I can communicate and kind of work through the nuances of the system," said Leonhard. "It is a quick turnaround to get in here on a Monday, and try to play the next week. I'm not sure what the plan is yet, but I'll be ready to go."
Marrone would not completely commit to Leonhard playing a role on defense Sunday, but didn't rule it out either.
"I think Jimmy has been a veteran in this system for quite a long time so for us to plug him in there would not be a problem," said Marrone.
Three players outOut for Sunday's game are CB Stephon Gilmore (wrist), K Dustin Hopkins (groin) and OL Doug Legursky (knee).