The Buffalo Bills have activated offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson, who was eligible to return to the Bills today having now completed his 10-game suspension that dates back to last season. The Bills had a deadline of 4 p.m. Eastern to make the decision regarding Henderson.
The fourth-year player was suspended by the NFL during Week 12 of last season for a violation of its policy against substance abuse. Henderson has Crohn's disease and in the past has used marijuana to help deal with the pain that comes with the illness. Henderson’s 10-game suspension was the second ban of that type that the lineman served last season. Following the second suspension, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport cited a source that had this to say about Henderson:
“He needs cannabis. You can't take pain killers with the way his intestines are.”
The NFL provides no exemptions for medical marijuana under its current collective bargaining agreement.
Henderson has said his mindset while suspended has been one of “no days off,” and that his conditioning is good. The lineman also said that he hasn’t had any issues with Crohn's disease’s recently, and though low body weight is commonly associated with the illness, Henderson says his weight has been steady at about 340 pounds.
After a surgery removed parts of his intestine, Henderson’s weight dropped to 280 pounds. He spoke with NYup’s Matthew Fairburn last offseason regarding changes he made to get back up to a healthy playing weight.
“Man, meats and grains and heavy just staying on top of my diet daily. A lot of working out to go along with it. I went through so much last year, I know exactly what I can eat. I just about eat the same things every day. Just so I can keep my weight up and don't drop down again."
Speaking with reporters this week at the Bills facility, Henderson noted that he was back up to 340 pounds and hadn’t suffered any dietary setbacks recently.
Henderson, a former seventh-round pick who has started a lot of games in his career, could perhaps spark a Bills offensive line that has struggled mightily this season. The unit’s anchor, Cordy Glenn, has missed serious time because of injuries, and virtually everyone else on the line has played poorly. Through five games, Pro Football Focus grades the Bills as the 22nd-best offensive line. The most disappointing part of their play has been the step back they’ve taken in the run-game, currently ranked 17th in rushing in comparison to being tops in the league the past couple of seasons.
To make room for Henderson, the Bills cut rookie cornerback Greg Mabin. Mabin has spent time on the practice squad this season, and contributed a pass breakup in the end zone when pressed into duty last week against the Cincinnati Bengals. He’ll likely rejoin the practice squad again, assuming he clears waivers.