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Rain cuts short Bills session

By Mark Gaughan

PITTSFORD -- The Buffalo Bills were forced to retreat to the St. John Fisher gymnasium for the last half hour of Tuesday's practice due to lightning and heavy rain.  

The Bills took off their shoulder pads and switched from cleats to sneakers. They essentially did a walk-through of their final 11-on-11 portion of practice.

"At least we've got something that we can go in and get the last 30 snaps and get a feel for it and get communication," coach Chan Gailey said. "And that's about what it's for, communication."
Gailey said the team knew a storm was close and was prepared to shift to the gym. The Bills have white lines marking off 35 yards of a football field on the basketball court.

"We have a great communication system with some area people about their lightning horns going off, and so we try to monitor that closely," Gailey said. "Bud Carpenter, our trainer, keeps in close contact with me on that and we have to get off that field before the lightning gets close."

Pittsford's Oak Hill Country Club is almost directly across the street from camp. When Oak Hill's lightning siren goes off, the Bills get off the field.

Before the outdoor practice was stopped, rookie running back Chris Douglas was injured when he collided at the end of a run with safety Delano Howell. Douglas limped off the field with an apparent leg injury. There was no initial word on the severity.

The Bills' practice was more run-oriented. C.J. Spiller had some good runs off tackle in 11-on-11 work.

Quarterback Tyler Thigpen had a fine ball fake and got around the defense on a designed running play. Quarterback Brad Smith had the best deep throw of the day, hitting David Clowney on a well-timed rainbow down the right sideline. In 7-on-7 work, safety Da'Norris Searcy got the first clean interception off Ryan Fitzpatrick (not counting batted balls) when he caught an overthrow down the middle intended for Scott Chandler. Fitzpatrick hit Derek Hagan on a deep ball down the right sideline on a play that fooled the defense. Rookie kicker John Potter made a field goal from 59 yards.

Meanwhile, center Eric Wood (knee) returned to take a few snaps of team action for the first time this summer. Terrence McGee (knee) took a few snaps, as well. Sitting out team work with minor injuries were David Nelson, Torell Troup, Erik Pears, Josh Nesbitt, Justin Rogers, Johnny White and Kellen Heard.

The Bills have a night practice Wednesday, and all tickets for it have been distributed.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |