With only seven wide receivers expected to dress for Friday night's preseason game against the Redskins in Washington, opportunity is knocking for rookie wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt and a couple of his fellow undrafted teammates.
The Buffalo native, who will be appearing in his first game for his hometown team, will likely be afforded the chance to play the entire second half if not more in the Bills' preseason opener.
With practice squad veteran Felton Huggins placed on the waived/injured list Monday, fellow rookie Marcus Easley scheduled for surgery and James Hardy suffering an undisclosed injury Tuesday, the Bills will be leaning more heavily on the likes of Roosevelt, Donald Jones and David Nelson Friday night once starters like Lee Evans, Steve Johnson and Roscoe Parrish get their necessary work in.
"Oh, it's a definitely an opportunity," said Roosevelt. "(Coach Gailey) has given us all the chances in the world in practice, and he just wants us to perform in a game. That's all I want to do, is perform."
"With seven wideouts going into the ball game they're all going to get a good opportunity to play so every one of those guys are going to get a bunch of plays," said Gailey. "It's a good opportunity to show what they can do."
Jones, Nelson and Roosevelt are all undrafted rookies, but they have made their share of plays in training camp, with Nelson even getting some first team reps in spread formations. Jones and Roosevelt have been pretty consistent with their play thus far as well. But they realize that the quality of their performance will go beyond just offense.
"The coaches told us we're playing receiver and all special teams," Roosevelt said. "We're just excited, just want to get out there and show what we can do and show that we can play on this level."
And knowing such opportunities for lengthy playing time don't come along often for an undrafted rookie Roosevelt knows there will be some butterflies in the stomach right before kickoff.
"Yeah, definitely nervous. Nervous, excited," he said. "I'm nervous for every game, but after the first play and the first hit I get in already and my mind's off that. I'm just ready to play football after that."