ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has been elevated from the practice squad and is active for the team's key AFC East game against the Miami Dolphins on Saturday night, just days after being re-signed Tuesday.
Beasley retired from the NFL after playing in two games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this season. He has not played in a game since October but said this week he feels like he is in game shape. The Bills kept open the possibility of him playing less than a week after signing because of his familiarity with the offense even though there is a new coordinator this season in Ken Dorsey.
"I don't think it's unrealistic," general manager Brandon Beane said. "What we wouldn't want to do if we played him is have him have a setback like he's not in football shape. ... That would be up for [head coach] Sean [McDermott], Dorsey and [wide receivers coach] Chad Hall to determine if he's ready to roll, along with our medical staff to make sure there's no concern about the soft tissue stuff."
Beasley, 33, will help the Bills at slot receiver after Jamison Crowder went out with a broken ankle in October. Beasley was originally with the team for three seasons (2019-21).
"When it comes to zone coverages, he knows where defenders should be at," quarterback Josh Allen said. "He knows leverages, he knows what windows that I'm looking at. And he's just got such a good feel. If he's not seeing me, he's going to find a window where he can see me. ... We run different concepts with him because he can read basically two guys at one time, which not everybody can do."
Slot receiver Isaiah McKenzie is second on the team with six dropped passes this season and is likely to see a reduction in playing time as a result of Beasley's elevation. The Bills lead the league in drops (29); Beasley had just two drops on 113 targets in 2021.
Beasley's original stint with the team ended after he requested a trade but ultimately was released this March. He was vocal on social media with his thoughts on the NFL/NFLPA's COVID-19 policies. The wide receiver said Wednesday there were things he wished he would have done differently, and that being away from football put some things in perspective.
"I'm happy to be back here," Beasley said. "I feel like this is the place I belong. Being somewhere different for a little bit [in Tampa], it just didn't feel right to me. So, I'm glad to be back here with all the guys I'm familiar with, and I missed them to death, so it's awesome."