PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- After a slew of injuries to start training camp, the Buffalo Bills offensive line is getting healthier. Guard Rodger Saffold was activated off the non-football injury list Sunday and was in uniform for the team's training camp practice.
Saffold started training camp on the NFI list after he injured his ribs in a car crash.
He signed with the Bills as a free agent this offseason and is expected to be the starting left guard. Saffold was limited in his first practice back but took light reps with the first-team offense and began to ease his way back into the fold. Center Mitch Morse, the only starting offensive lineman who had not missed a day of training camp practice, was out with a vet day.
With Morse out, projected starting right guard Ryan Bates, who has also missed time to injury, filled in at center and fully participated in the team portion of practice for the first time since his return.
Offensive lineman David Quessenberry has primarily been filling in for right tackle Spencer Brown, who is slowly working his way back after missing the entire offseason program due to back surgery. Brown did take part in some light team drills and one-on-ones for the first time Sunday.
Due to the injuries, the Bills have practiced with a variety of offensive line combinations throughout camp.
"The plus side for us, is with [players missing time], some guys have gained some invaluable experience," offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey said. "Coming in and playing against some of the best D-linemen in the league, I feel like it's really pushed them and really forcing guys to really step up their game and take on larger roles. And hopefully, it's helped our depth there, and hopefully it helped that competition for guys to really step up and push each other."
Expectations are high for the Bills' offense this season, but the line is the biggest question mark, and Saffold's return is a significant step forward in the preparations.
Wide receivers Isaiah McKenzie and Khalil Shakir and nickelback Taron Johnson did not participate in Sunday's practice due to soreness after a practice at Highmark Stadium on Friday. The wide receiver absences provided more opportunities for veteran Jamison Crowder, who is competing with McKenzie at slot receiver and missed significant time with a lower extremity issue.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Crowder told ESPN. "I was just kind of dealing with little stuff in my lower extremities, but yeah, now I'm feeling pretty good, so just trying to get my legs back under me and getting back to used to moving and cutting everything. So, I'm good."