ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 04: Erik Pears #79 of the Buffalo Bills blocks against Derrick Morgan #90 of the Tennessee Titans at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York.Tennessee won 23-17. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
During Buffalo Bills training camp practice on Friday, second-year offensive tackle Chris Hairston - who is currently competing with rookie Cordy Glenn for the starting left tackle job - began splitting his reps between left and right tackle. The reason? The team appears to be getting antsy about the ongoing injury situation with starting right tackle Erik Pears.
"We were trying to get Hairston some at right since Pears has been out," Gailey explained to reporters. "We have been trying to find a way to get him some at right, so that made more reps for Cordy. We were trying to get a three man rotation a little bit in those first 12 (plays)."
Asked whether or not he believed Pears' injury should be a "major concern," Gailey responded as follows: "I'm not ready to put the word 'major' on it, but it's a concern."
Pears, who made 16 starts at right tackle for the Bills in 2011 and signed a three-year contract extension, has not taken part in the overwhelming majority of team reps through off-season OTAs and training camp as he recovers from off-season hernia surgery. While Pears has been completing individual drills in camp, his team reps have largely fallen to young veteran Sam Young, who may not even make the team.
Throughout the off-season, the prognosis for Pears has been similar to that of center Eric Wood: he'd sit out spring workouts in order to be healthy enough for camp. Wood is seeing an increased workload in team work, but Pears has yet to get healthy enough to work back into the rotation there. Now, the coaches believe the situation is worrisome enough to hamper Hairston's bid for the left tackle job - but if Pears can't make it for the start of the regular season, Hairston will still have a starting job on the right side, it appears.