It's been a long road back, but Ashton Youboty is closer than ever to a full return to football as he participated in individual position drills with his teammates at OTAs Thursday. Youboty has been out of action since Week 5 of last season after suffering plantar fasciitis in both feet.
"It felt good being out there with the fellas," said Youboty. "It felt a little sore here and there, but generally a lot better."
Youboty is encouraged by how his ailing feet have come along, which is important considering the high impact nature of his position. At this point however, one foot is a bit ahead of the other.
"Right now they're both going good," said Youboty. "One is still getting treatment, but once that's done I'm ready to go."
The fourth-year defensive back is hopefully he gets the green light from the trainers for the mandatory minicamp, which starts this coming Tuesday for the Bills. But Youboty maintains he has the patience to wait until training camp if necessary.
"(It's) not frustrating at all," he said. "I've just got to be patient and do what I can at this time and that's just getting in the books and learning in the film room."
Youboty believes by training camp his plantar fasciitis will be a distant memory.
"Once you rupture it and it heals it should be steadily gone," said Youboty. "It shouldn't be a nagging issue. It should be completely gone and I should be good."
Working lateOnce again Lee Evans and Terrell Owens spent a good half hour after practice working with Trent Edwards on pass routes.
Edwards seemed to be particularly focused on a specific deep out route working with the receivers on how much touch versus arc to put on the pass until both sides were satisfied.
Second-year wideout Stevie Johnson also joined in for the overtime session. Johnson has been talking with Evans about developing consistency in one's game with respect to running routes.
"It's about doing the same things and being consistent and that's what I've been talking to Lee about is his consistency," said Johnson. "That's how you build confidence in all your quarterbacks."
HighlightsThere were some good battles up front in the passing game during 11-on-11 team work. The offensive and defensive lines were matching wits in the blitz game. A couple of times the defense had some good plays called.
Chris Kelsay came clean around the edge for a 'would be' sack on Trent Edwards when Brad Butler was forced to take blitzer Kawika Mitchell and had no help .
Ryan Fitzpatrick beat the blitz on a quick bang-bang pass play with Justin Jenkins. Edwards also beat the blitz hitting Fred Jackson on a quick slant.
Terrell Owens put another touchdown on the board as he put a double move on the defensive back and was wide open for a 40-yard scoring play. Owens run after catch was about 20 yards. The veteran wideout had six catches on the day.
Derek Schouman had a productive day in the passing game with five receptions including a well executed route in which he gained separation from Reggie Corner.
Defensively, Chris Kelsay and Corner split a sack on a blitz call in 11-on-11.
Kelsay also had a batted pass during team work.
Drayton Florence broke up a pass that he just missed pulling in for an interception on a throw intended for Lee Evans.
Rookie Cary Harris has a pass breakup as well on a throw intended for Justin Jenkins.
And linebacker Marcus Buggs picked off a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass over the middle.
Notable rolesKyle Ward was given a few first team reps at left cornerback with Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin still not doing team work. Drayton Florence and Reggie Corner were the top pairing for most of the practice.
Undrafted rookie cornerback Lydell Sargeant saw time as the second team nickel. Fellow rookies Cary Harris and Ellis Lankster were second team corners on the outside.
Brandon Rodd has seen the majority of reps at center with the second offensive unit. Marvin Philip has rotated in for some practices, but Rodd has been with that group more often.
Nic Harris, Marcus Buggs and undrafted rookie Ashlee Palmer continue to make up the second unit linebacking corps. Buggs has been stepping in for Pat Thomas, who still is not all the way back from injury.
Terrence McGee and Marshawn Lynch had a bit of fun with their practice jerseys Thursday. McGee wore Lynch's white jersey number 23, while Lynch wore McGee's blue number 24 jersey.
McGee didn't participate fully in practice, so it wasn't an issue, but Trent Edwards likely did a double take when he'd throw to Lynch coming out of the backfield seeing a blue number 24 jersey.
No word as to why they switched jerseys other than out of fun.
In and out
Not participating Thursday were C.J. Hawthorne, P.K. Sam, John DiGiorgio, James Hardy and Jonathan Scott.
Terrence McGee, Leodis McKelvin, Pat Thomas and Ashton Youboty were limited.
Absent Thursday were Shawn Nelson, Roscoe Parrish, Josh Reed and Aaron Schobel.