Two of the Buffalo Bills' biggest free agent additions this off-season were defensive lineman Alan Branch and strong-side linebacker Manny Lawson. Even though both players were signed several weeks before the 2013 NFL Draft, neither had yet made it to team headquarters for voluntary workouts and practices this off-season.
Both players were on hand for today's mandatory minicamp, however, and we now know why the two veteran defenders abstained from the voluntary portion of the off-season, as well: each welcomed children into the world.
Personal reasons that DT Alan Branch and LB Manny Lawson missed voluntary workouts were babies being born. Lawson's first.— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) June 11, 2013
Lawson, who was the team's first free agent signing this spring, is expected to be a starter in Mike Pettine's hybrid defense as an outside linebacker and situational pass rusher. Branch, meanwhile, will likely be used a significant amount as a rotational run defender. For now, however, they're behind, and they're being slotted into the lineup to reflect the amount they have to make up.
Manny Lawson running with the 2nd team defense. Alan Branch running with the 3rd team. #Bills— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) June 11, 2013