Placed on Injured Reserve but designated to return by the Buffalo Bills prior to the start of the regular season, rookie cornerback Ron Brooks is set to return to practice this week, according to BuffaloBills.com.
Brooks, a fourth-round pick out of LSU, told the team's official website that the foot injury that eventually required surgery initially popped up early in training camp, and that the condition worsened as he played in the team's first three pre-season games (during which he showed some play-making ability). Bills head coach Chan Gailey told reporters that Brooks could be back on the practice field as early as this afternoon, but he's not eligible to be re-instated to the 53-man active roster until October 31.
At that time, the Bills will need to release a player from the active roster to make room for Brooks, who is expected to resume his role as one of the team's starting punt gunners when he's back in action. At the earliest, you'll see him back when the team travels to take on the Houston Texans on November 4 after next week's bye.
As for his playing cornerback, however, don't expect it any time soon, despite the fact that the team's pass defense and cornerback group have struggled on the whole. The Bills are force-feeding playing time to rookie first-round pick Stephon Gilmore, and they're rotating four other players into the lineup behind him: Aaron Williams, Justin Rogers, Terrence McGee and even Leodis McKelvin are seeing good chunks of reps. It'll be hard for Brooks to break into that rotation right away, but if the group continues to struggle as the season progresses, things may certainly change.