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NFL rule means several Buffalo Bills rookies miss OTAs

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By rule, some Buffalo Bills rookies are at home this week because their college class hasn't graduated.

Jeff Gross

Buffalo Bills organized team activities began this week, with veterans and rookies getting together for the team's first full-team practices of the off-season. Several members of the team aren't in attendance from the voluntary workouts - but not by choice.

NFL rules prohibit rookies from leaving school to join their team for OTAs until the current senior class graduates. That doesn't affect EJ Manuel, whose college class graduated last weekend. Buffalo's second-round pick, Robert Woods, isn't participating, however, as USC graduates this Sunday. (Kiko Alonso apparently graduated from Oregon early, because they aren't done until June 17, but Alonso is at work.)

In addition to the second rounders, receivers Marquise Goodwin (this Sunday) and Brandon Kaufman (June 15) are out for the time being. On the defensive side of the ball, undrafteds Aaron Tipoti (this weekend), Nickell Robey (this weekend) and Jordan Dangerfield (May 22) are sidelined.

New head coach Doug Marrone is in favor of the rules keeping kids at college, if for nothing else than personal experience.

"I am actually for them," said Marrone on Tuesday. "I am a big supporter of student-athletes and a big supporter of making sure that you graduate. I applaud the NFL and what they have done from when I was a player till now. I was one of those players that had to leave school and that is why when you look at my resume and you will see 1991 is when I graduated, a lot of that is because I did have to leave and go to the team that drafted me.

"I do not look at it as far as what they are losing," continued the former college coach. "I look at it as far as what they are gaining. They are gaining an education that lasts a lifetime. That is how I view that."

In order to try and make up the difference, Manuel tweeted this out on Tuesday evening. If his receivers can't be at practice, he'll bring practice to them: