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Stevie Johnson eager to start building chemistry with his QBs

By Jay Skurski

Bills receiver Stevie Johnson doesn't sound overly concerned about it, but is frustrated that a strained lower back has kept him from participating in the team's first three days of organized team activities.

"It's just frustrating seeing the guys run around, but it's getting better," Johnson said today after practice. "I guess this is just a timing thing. I'm just doing everything that they're telling me to, doing the weight room stuff. Of course inside the playbook. Whenever they give me the green light, I'll be ready to go."

Entering his sixth season, Johnson is the second-most experienced receiver on the roster behind Brad Smith. That makes him one of the veteran leaders in a receiver room filled with young players.

"I'm one of the most established in the room, so I've got to play that role. It's nothing. I take it for what it is and I'm ready to handle that position as the leader or the veteran of the room," Johnson said. "That's what it's about at the end of the day. When I came in as a rookie, you had Lee doing this, Josh … it was going to be my time soon."

Johnson said he's excited by the talent -- and speed -- the Bills have added at his position.

"I watched the film on everybody else after the rookie minicamp and I like what I saw. We've got a lot of talent. I think we'll be a problem when it comes Sunday," he said, followed later, with tongue planted firmly in cheek -- "with me being the fastest of the group, it feels good to have other guys that can keep up with me."

Bills coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday he's not going to rush Johnson back onto the field.

"It's more important for me to get him healthy and get him well than it is to try and push him to get on the field," the coach said. "I've said that to a couple of players that are out here already who have a little bit of soreness -- ‘Hey listen, we're here to make sure that you know what you're doing and are healthy.' "

Johnson, though, is eager to return and start building chemistry with the three quarterbacks on the roster competing for the starting job.

"That's what we're doing here with the practice. You've got to get in tune with all three of them because you never know what's going to happen in the season, somebody can go down and you've got to work with another quarterback," he said. "But if you get it all out here, you don't really have to worry about that issue.

"That's one of the frustrating things that I'm going through right now in my mind, because I'm not out here. But I know we've got training camp and I'll definitely get on point where it'll be easy. It's just frustrating as far as me not being out there, but with the quarterbacks, that's a good position for us. We've got three guys that can go."


Brad Smith | Doug Marrone | Stevie Johnson
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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 |