<
>

Sammy Watkins 'feeling great' but still unsure of return to field

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- After sitting out organized team activities and mandatory minicamp this spring because of offseason surgery to repair a broken left foot, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins says he is "feeling great," but he is still unsure of when he will return to the practice field.

"I don't know how much I'm gonna be doing or when I'm gonna be on the field, but I'm definitely going to be active and engaged," Watkins said Tuesday at his football camp for local children. "I don't know what the schedule is like with me being on the field competing-wise, but I'm right where I need to be at -- feeling good, healthy. Nothing is bothering me. Just really prepare for whatever they do.

"I don't know what the situation is, but if they throw me out there, I just want to be prepared if they do. That's all I can do is prepare for it."

Bills players report to St. John Fisher College next Friday for training camp, and their first practice is next Saturday. Watkins said last month he expected to only miss "two or three days" of practice but backed off those comments days later, saying "you never know" what the coaching staff will allow him to do.

A source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter in May that Watkins would miss training camp and the preseason but would be ready to play in the regular-season opener Sept. 11 in Baltimore.

Watkins has stayed in the Buffalo area this summer to work with the Bills' training staff to continue his rehab.

"It's been great, actually," Watkins said. "I might look into doing it every year because I'm getting the right nutrition, the right coaching, the right treatment and it's not with another company. I'm doing right here with the Bills and our organization. They're doing a great job with it. I'm paying attention to the details, fixing my body. It's great being here."

Now in his third season, the former fourth overall selection in 2014 has battled numerous injuries through the first two seasons of his NFL career. That has made staying healthy -- and not statistics -- a priority for Watkins.

"That's one thing I really want to work on," he said Tuesday. "Not so much the numbers and touchdowns and scoring -- it's being available for my teammates. That's one thing I take to heart is not being available to make plays and help my teammates. If I'm not on the field, I feel like I'm letting them down, letting everybody down. So it's really being available, staying healthy and that's something I'm working on right now with the staff, the training staff, trying to find so many ways I can keep my body up, stay healthy and stay fit for the whole season."

Hip surgery last offseason kept Watkins off the field during spring practices, while further soreness limited him in training camp. Watkins then dealt with a calf injury and, later, an ankle injury during the regular season. The lack of practice time with quarterback Tyrod Taylor has forced the duo to find other ways to build chemistry.

"We have something planned," Watkins said Tuesday. "We're not going to go the whole time with the missed time without doing anything. We got something planned to where we're on the right page. And we're going to get on the right page and make sure we stay there. It's really good that he's progressing. Now I got to progress with him, get on the right page, on the same page he's on. Because I missed OTAs and minicamp, so it's very -- we got to be on the right page when the season starts.

"We just got to get the chemistry back down, the route running. Stuff like that I got to clean up. He's got to be comfortable throwing the ball to me, get back to having fun and feeling like we did the end of the year. That's really what it is. I got to get his trust. He don't have to get my trust. I got to get his trust to where he's knowing that I'm open or he just sees me and maybe Pat Peterson one-on-one, he trusts me to make that play and catch the ball."