The Buffalo Bills took Marcus Easley in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, but he hasn't yet played a down in the league. A knee injury in training camp ended his rookie season, while a heart problem derailed his second. Easley did his part by participating as best he could in the classroom, hoping to get his shot on the field in 2012.
"A lot of guys, when they get hurt, they want to go home and do their own thing," Bills receiver David Nelson told the Connecticut Post at Easley's football camp. "Marcus was around, always trying to learn, always asking questions, trying to get better."
Many Bills fans thought the team put Easley on injured reserve prematurely last season, but Easley didn't know if his heart ailment would end his career, let alone allow him to return in 2011.
According to the Post, Easley didn't get cleared by doctors for three months - well into the season. Easley has shared the details of his heart condition with few people, and has not done so publicly.
"Anytime I have the opportunity to step on the football field, no matter what I'm going through, I'm alive and I'm well," Easley says. "I appreciate that. It could always be worse."
Easley has an uphill battle at the wide receiver position due to an array of unproven talent behind Stevie Johnson. Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com thinks Easley's natural talents give him a chance to nab the No. 2 wide receiver spot, though.
"He plucks the ball out of the air, rarely body catches, can make plays with DBs hanging on him or in traffic," said Brown on June 22. "Really the only thing that has stopped him is his body (injury, medical condition). Having three years of exposure in this offense will be an asset, but he’s got to get through camp healthy and not miss time."
Easley got some first-team reps in spring OTAs, and he could very well get an opportunity there when training camp opens in Rochester on July 26.