Rex: "We will see" if Lawson will play Sunday

October 17, 2016

By Sal Capaccio

Twitter @SalSports


After stating confidently a couple weeks ago that Shaq Lawson would play against the Miami Dolphins in week seven, Bills head coach Rex Ryan backed off of that - just a bit - when asked about the return of his rookie outside linebacker Monday.

“We will see if he plays, but we will have him back on Wednesday (at practice),” Ryan told reporters a day after his team’s 45-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers. “He will start practicing with our team and we will see where he is at.”

Lawson has been on the Physically Unable to Perform List (PUP) since training camp began after undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason.   According to NFL PUP list rules, the team has from the day after week 6 through the day after week 11 to activate the 19th overall pick in this year’s draft.

The Bills also have two other players in the same situation.  Wide receiver Marcus Easley, who has been out with knee injury, and wide receiver Kolby Listenbee, who suffered an injury in college before the Bills drafted him.  Listenbee is actually on a different list - the Non-Football Injury List (because his injury didn’t occur during any NFL activity), but the rules are the exact same as the PUP list rules.

Ryan remained consistent that Lawson would begin practicing as soon as the team hits the field this week, but he said that won’t be the case for Easley or Listenbee. Once any of the players does begin practicing, the team has a three week window to activate him.  If they don’t, he must be placed on season-ending Injured Reserved or be released.   Regardless if he begins practicing or not, If the player is not activated by the day after week 11, the team must either place him on IR or release him.  

Ryan would love to have last year’s consensus All-American on the field Sunday in Miami, but admitted he may need more time.

“He hasn’t had one day of practice, an NFL practice,” he said.  “He has not had one day in NFL practice, but we will see how he is. Then we will look at it as the week goes on to see if he will play. I thought initially we waited this long for our first round pick, but we got to do the smart thing and what is best for the young man also.”

There’s also no need to rush the Clemson product onto the field considering the player in front of him, Lorenzo Alexander, is leading the league in sacks, and the defense has allowed the fifth fewest points in the NFL.  But when he finally does get his shot, whether it’s this week or soon after, Ryan said they’ll have a plan for how to bring the team’s top pick along.

“I don’t know if we can say for this week,” Ryan said, “but I think moving forward, I think it’s get in there (and) give some, spell some guys, and then maybe can he play in the sub (package) team? Can he do different things? We are going to find out. We know he is a really good talent and I think combined with the players that we have, I think it will be good. I think as far as saying, ‘well is he a starter,’ well no, he is not going to start now. I think Lorenzo Alexander has earned that. But we are going to work Shaq in there now.”

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