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Marcus Easley takes another step on long road back

By Jay Skurski

Marcus Easley breathed a sigh of relief more than two years in the making this week when learning he had been promoted to the Bills' 53-man roster.

"It’s been a long road for me and I’m just grateful for this opportunity," Easley said today at his locker. "It's definitely been a struggle, but on the practice squad I tried to carry the mentality of 'get better.' You're still being evaluated, so I tried to take advantage of that every day."

With receiver Stevie Johnson missing practice today because of a thigh bruise, promoting Easley is also a bit of an insurance policy for the Bills. But coach Chan Gailey made it clear it's more about the job Easley has done.

"He's played extremely well on the scout team. He deserves an opportunity to come up and see what he might be able to do. I don't know if he'll get active soon or not, but we'd like to give him a chance to have that opportunity at some point," the coach said. "We'll see how it goes and how he practices and we'll let him get some reps and go from there."

Easley's story is well known to Bills fans. The former fourth-round draft pick in 2010 out of Connecticut missed the past two seasons on injured reserve because of a knee injury and heart ailment, respectively. He was cut by the Bills at the end of the preseason this year, but signed to the practice squad a day later.

"It was huge," Easley said of his time on the development squad. "It was tremendous for me, because I really haven't played too much football in the last two years. Just being able to come out here and practice, kind of figure out what a season’s like in taking care of your body, definitely helps. It helped me get back into playing shape."

Gailey said it will be tough for Easley to be active this week, but the team is in a position to do so now if it chooses to.

"That's the next step," Easley said.

One thing working in his favor is his special teams acumen. Easley played on both the kick and punt coverage units in the preseason.

"Wherever I can fit in or wherever I can help this team out, I'm sure the coaches will put me in that position," he said.

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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 |