When Buffalo Bills training camp began in late July, you'd have been hard pressed to find anyone that would have foreseen Jeff Tuel and Matt Leinart splitting reps at quarterback for the Bills in their preseason finale. That's precisely what is about to happen, as the Bills have reportedly signed Leinart after a workout on Sunday. Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports 1 had the news first.
The Bills were in need of a quarterback to, at minimum, carry them through the remainder of the preseason with both first-round pick EJ Manuel (knee surgery) and veteran Kevin Kolb (concussion symptoms) sidelined. Tuel, an undrafted free agent, will start the team's preseason finale Thursday against Detroit, with Leinart serving as the backup.
Leinart, 30, spent the 2012 season with the Oakland Raiders, who allowed him to leave as a free agent this past spring. Though Seattle showed some free agent interest, Leinart remained unsigned until today. The former first-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals will serve as insurance for the foreseeable future.
Following the team's 30-7 exhibition loss to Washington on Saturday, Bills head coach Doug Marrone expressed hope that Manuel would return to practice prior to the regular season - and it's pretty obvious that the hope will be that he's healthy in time to take on the New England Patriots in Week 1.
"Yeah, that’s what I'm hoping for," Marrone said Saturday. "You have a procedure done. He was with us on the field the other day – not just watching and observing. I think you just have to wait for that period when the doctor looks at him and says, ‘Okay, here’s where we are,’ because people recover so differently from minor stuff."