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With Stevie Johnson Sidelined, Door Wide Open At Receiver For Buffalo Bills

May 29, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson (13) during organized team activities at the Ralph Wilson Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE
May 29, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson (13) during organized team activities at the Ralph Wilson Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

On day one of Buffalo Bills OTAs, head coach Chan Gailey told reporters that he doesn't expect wide receiver Stevie Johnson to participate in team activities until training camp in July.

Johnson, who was banged up for the majority of the 2011 season, is now a bit more than a month removed from off-season groin surgery. It's not rehabilitation from that procedure that's currently holding him back, however - it's lingering pain in his hamstring. All signs, however, point to Johnson being fully healthy when the pads go on at St. John Fisher.

With Johnson on the sidelines, the door is now open for the team's other outside receiving options - all vying for a starting job - to get some serious reps with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the first-team offense. Yesterday, veterans Donald Jones and Derek Hagan were working with the first unit.

Per Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News, however, there was a heavy amount of rotation at receiver, with Jones and Hagan being spelled on the edge by Marcus Easley and rookie T.J. Graham. (David Nelson was likely in the mix, as well, but was also likely operating out of his usual slot position.)

The take-away here: in the five players that saw first-team work (Jones, Hagan, Easley, Graham and Nelson) plus Johnson, we have our early front-runners for a likely six opening-day receiving spots on the 53-man roster. The rest of the team's receivers have their work cut out for them trying to sneak up the depth chart.