The Buffalo Bills began training camp at St. John Fisher Thursday. General manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott held a joint press conference to kick off the session. While most of the questions concerned running back LeSean McCoy, a few reporters asked about the progress of second-year receiver Zay Jones.
Jones will begin the season on the non-football injury list, and Beane made it sound as if Jones is in line for a fairly quick return to the field.
“He’s progressing well and we just don’t want to rush it,” Beane said. “We’ve been patient and he’s not quite ready. As soon as the doctors give him clearance [he can practice]. He’s been chomping at the bit. I know he’ll be as excited as anybody to get back out there.”
When Beane was asked about the nature of the injury, specifically as it relates to Jones’s arrest in March while with his brother in a Los Angeles hotel, he replied, “I’m not going to get into what it is. It was an injury and so he had a rough offseason, but we’ve moved on and we’re ready to go.”
McDermott discussed Jones’s rehab, noting that the second-year receiver is “behind” while also saying that Jones is “a positive young man [with] tremendous mental toughness.”
“We’re probably holding him back more than he’s holding himself back,” said Beane, discussing the timeline for his return. “We’ve tried to be patient. With those things, the last thing you want is to have a setback right now, not that you couldn’t, but we’re just trying to be smart and get him there.”
Jones had surgery to repair his labrum in January. He also underwent knee surgery in May. The knee surgery is a direct result of the incident in March, when a naked Jones attempted to kick through a glass window on the 30th floor of an apartment building. According to The Athletic, Jones suffered a deep laceration under his kneecap which needed to be repaired.
During Thursday’s practice, Jones was on the side of the field with training staff doing conditioning and agility drills. He worked on the ladder to improve foot speed and was jumping in place, among other activities. He didn’t look like he was far from returning.