Still no indication if he'll play in '03
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.—Running back Willis McGahee was activated by the Buffalo Bills yesterday, even though the first-round pick isn't yet ready to play his first NFL game.
The long-anticipated move comes nearly 10 months to the day after the former Miami University star tore three ligaments in his left knee during the Hurricanes' loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
While impressed by McGahee's progress, Bills coach Gregg Williams said it's far too early to tell when he could be ready to play, if at all this season.
"It's like a training camp for him right now," said Williams, whose team is preparing to play at Dallas on Sunday. "He's not ready to play yet.
"Hopefully, if he continues to work as hard as he has been working, he'll get a chance to get into a game this year."
McGahee called it "a good day," but he wasn't sure when he'd be ready either. "I don't know. I pray on that right there. One day my body feels good, one day my body can feel bad. I couldn't even tell you."
While he's anxious to make his NFL debut, McGahee added that it wouldn't be a disappointment if he didn't play this season. "No, because I have next year to look forward to," he said.
McGahee has spent the past three weeks practising with the team after opening the season on the non-football injury list. Had the Bills not activated McGahee by yesterday's 4 p.m. deadline, the player would have been placed on injured reserve and barred from practising with the team for the remainder of the season.
One of the Bills' concerns is that McGahee still appears to drag and favour his injured leg while attempting to accelerate.
"The big thing is, we want to see him get back to full explosiveness on the field so that, No.1, he's productive enough to help win ballgames for us and, No.2, it's safe enough for him to play health-wise," Williams said.
Starter Travis Henry was happy with the move, even though it means he will eventually have to share playing time with McGahee. "I'm happy for him because of all the rehab he went through and all the hard work," Henry said. "It's a great thing."