ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus returned to the Buffalo Bills facility after some mandated time away.
Dareus is likely relieved to be back.
His adventurous and unfortunate offseason to date includes arrests in two separate incidents, one for possessing synthetic marijuana in Alabama, the other for participating in a street race a couple miles from Ralph Wilson Stadium in the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg.
Dareus was told to stay away from the voluntary OTA sessions following the second arrest on May 30 so that he could get his personal life together. He was back for the mandatory minicamp, and participated in drills the first two days, though was not made available to the media. The Bills reasoning for keeping him away from reporters was so that he could "focus on football."
"Obviously he's had a string of bad decisions and we as players, teammates and friends, we expect more out of him because we expect him to play football for us," said fellow defensive tackle Kyle Williams. "I don't think there's any disguising the fact that he has to be accountable to his team, his coaches and our organization for the decisions he makes. Hopefully the foresight comes in."
Meanwhile, veteran defensive linemen Manny Lawson and Alan Branch made their first appearances of the offseason at the minicamp. Both players skipped all of the OTA workouts and stayed home.
Lawson explained his decision this way: "The season is long. When you have some years under your belt, you don't want it to be repetitive. You don't want to seem like you're going through the motions, the same thing over and over again. It was good to step away, spend time with the family, go visit your family. Relax -- still work out in my time off -- but step away from the game and come back to it and it's all new and fun again."
Coach Doug Marrone had nothing negative to say because, as he has repeatedly indicated, the OTAs are voluntary and the players don't have to be there.
With the switch in defensive schemes, both Lawson and Branch -- who joined the Bills last year and played well in then-coordinator Mike Pettine's scheme -- have some different duties. Branch played well as a 3-4 end, but now he'll be a 4-3 end, and likely will be a backup behind Jerry Hughes. Lawson was a linebacker last year and was third on the team with 73 tackles, but now he's being asked to play end, too, and will see his playing time cut.
"Probably the only thing that's going to change a lot for me now is I'm not going to drop as much," Lawson said. "I will have my hand in the dirt more, but other than that the Sam linebacker and defensive end are relatively the same position except at Sam linebacker you have to drop more in your man-to-man coverage. So I don't have to cover anybody man to man now, so it's see ball, go get ball.
By Sal Maiorana, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: June 18, 2014 05:14:32 PM
Dareus back with Bills after two arrests
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