With the myriad of injuries the Bills sustained in the 2009 campaign it can be hard sometimes to remember every one of the players sidelined through the course the season, especially those that went on injured reserve early. Such was the case for Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin.
Appearing in just three games this season, McKelvin was on injured reserve for the final 13 after suffering a fracture in his fibula during Buffalo's Week 3 loss to New Orleans. The injury cut short what was to be a building year for McKelvin in his first season as a starter at right cornerback.
"It was very disappointing for me, especially the goals I had set for me and for this team which was for us to try to get to the playoffs, and I wasn't out there," said McKelvin. "For me missing some time in the offseason and then only playing in a couple of preseason games and then basically two games played this whole season, getting injured in one game in the second quarter, it's been very hard to sit back and watch the games.
"I went to our games and experienced things I've never experienced before like being in the stands for games. It's just tough seeing my team going out there and playing very hard and taking it to the last minute and losing. I've been listening to people talking about my team and how we're down and things like that. It's been hard, but it makes me appreciate football."
As disappointing as the season was for the team, McKelvin was encouraged by the number of takeaways the defense was able to post almost tripling their 10 interceptions of a season ago with 28 in 2009, the sixth-highest single season total in team history.
"I'm happy for the guys," McKelvin said. "It's great that they had that success when the year before we didn't have that many interceptions. They came in this year and got a lot of interceptions. Defensively we gave up a lot of yards, but otherwise they did very well on the pass defensive side. We handled a lot of injuries too, so it was great that they came to play."
A little over three months removed from the injury McKelvin is back up and running, as the speedy defensive back was doing sprint training in the Bills fieldhouse just days before Buffalo's 2009 season wrapped up. Though McKelvin is fit to train, he's still not back to where he wants to be.
"I'm not 100 percent healthy yet," he said. "I can go out there and do drills and stuff like that and do a couple of things to keep me refined in what I do. It's basically just a slow process toward getting back out there."
McKelvin estimates he's running at about 4.5 to 4.6 speed, which is a couple of tenths off his top end 4.35 40-time. But the cornerback isn't worried about his trademark speed returning.
"I'm working on my strength and building the strength in my ankle and the speed hasn't left, it's just the weakness of the ankle, but everything is coming back normal," said McKelvin.
What's going to be difficult for McKelvin is waiting until late March when the players will report for the start of their offseason conditioning program. After such a long layoff, he's eager to get back at it.
"It's very hard, but things happen for a reason," said McKelvin. "I'm going to take what happened, go back and look at it and work very hard. The point now is to get healthy for next year. That's the main focus right now. But I'll be full throttle for OTAs… I'm ready to go to OTAs right now."