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Leodis McKelvin surging on returns, at cornerback

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey has been enchanted by Leodis McKelvin lately.

Gailey today praised McKelvin's cornerback play and gushed about his ability to return punts.

"When he goes out there, I feel like he's going to return every kick for a touchdown," Gailey said today. "I guess I'm kind of shocked when he doesn't. That's how much confidence I have in him."

McKelvin returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown Thursday night, the only touchdown the Bills put on the scoreboard in a 19-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

McKelvin became the first Bills player to return multiple punts for touchdowns in the same season. He owns two of the NFL's three longest punt returns this year. He also returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week Two.

"The crowd better get up and stand up, for real, because you never know," McKelvin said Thursday night. "I'm always ready to take one to the crib. You give me three or four touches, one of them is going back. That's just the confidence in me and the guys that I got."

McKelvin leads the NFL with a punt return average of 21.9 yards on 16 attempts. Herb Rich set the NFL record at 23.0 yards for the Baltimore Colts in 1950. Jack Christiansen averaged 21.5 yards for the Detroit Lions in 1952, and Dick Christy is third at 21.3 yards for the New York Titans in 1961.

McKelvin, the 2008 first-round draft choice, also is playing well at cornerback after getting another shot to start. Aaron Williams has missed the past two games with a knee injury, giving McKelvin his first two starts of the season and just his second and third starts since October 2011.

Gailey suggested McKelvin might keep the job when Williams returns to the field.

"He's done a really good job," Gailey said of McKelvin. "He's had a couple issues with a penalty here or there, but for the most part he has really been on the top of his game out there at corner. It's been fun to watch, to be honest with you. He's done a good job.

"We'll see where this thing goes. When Aaron gets back, I don't know exactly what's going to happen."

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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 |