Serving a one game league-imposed suspension last week Bills LB Nigel Bradham said he felt like he didn't have a job. Unable to be at the Bills team facility all week Bradham was forced to work out on his own away from his teammates and coaches. It's an experience he never wants to relive.
"It definitely was something I don't want to be a part of anymore in my career," Bradham told Buffalobills.com. "Being away from the team and away from the guys and the coaches and Sunday you have to watch your brothers go to battle without you. So it's one of those things where you don't want to be in that situation ever again."
Now back on the active roster his return could not have come at a better time. With fellow starting LB Keith Rivers a question mark for Sunday's game after sustaining a groin injury in Week 1, Bradham's return to the lineup helps immeasurably.
"We're pretty fortunate," Bradham said. "Luckily we have depth with our young guys being able to come in and play right away. Everybody is just taking the opportunity that comes to them."
Bradham is expected to team with Brandon Spikes and rookie Preston Brown in the team's base defense with Brown likely handling Rivers' role if he can't play. Ty Powell also figures to see action in certain packages.
Sunday will be the first opportunity to show how much improvement he's made with his personal game, after recommitting himself to football and his profession. Head coach Doug Marrone has been effusive in his praise for Bradham's new approach.
"Probably the most improved player on our team from last year," said Marrone. "The production we're getting out of him this year is outstanding. So I'm excited, especially with Keith (Rivers) day to day now. You get Nigel back and the way he was playing I'm excited about him being back. He was playing extremely well before and we're looking forward to him being consistent and playing well again."
With a week away from the practice setting Bradham did need most of Wednesday's session to get back on the ball, but feels he was back up to speed walking off the practice field.
"My reads I feel like I could make them a little quicker and back to where they were," he said. "You're kind of just watching film that whole week (away). You can't really simulate football practice and games. You're just running and training. It was good to get back out there. I think (Wednesday) got me back to where I needed to be."
Bradham's teammates welcomed him back earlier in the week knowing what an asset he's become for their front seven.
"It's big," said Stephon Gilmore. "Nigel had a good camp, a good OTA and minicamp and he's coming along. He came in with me and I think he'll help us out. He knows what he's doing and I think he's getting ready for a good season."
"I've got to go out there and just show everybody," said Bradham. "I know I've been working for it and my teammates have seen me put in the work for it. So it's pretty much just showing everybody else and that's the thing. Just going out there and playing my game, pretty much just doing what I've been doing every day and being consistent."