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Injury analysis: Buffalo Bills LB Marquel Lee

Will Lee be able to make the team this time around?

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NFL: Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the Buffalo Bills brought back yet another familiar face in LB Marquel Lee for a one-year contract. Lee spent the 2021 training camp with the Bills before getting released on cut-down day and heading back to the Las Vegas Raiders. He has spent his entire career with the Raiders (selected as a fifth-round draft pick in 2017) other than his short stint with the Bills.

Below is Marquel Lee’s publicly known injury history.

Injury History

2017 Oakland Raiders

Appeared in 13 games, missed three games in Week 5 due to what appeared to be a high ankle sprain on the right side based on the video.

2018 Raiders

Appeared in 16 games, with no publicly reported injuries.

2019 Raiders

Appeared in five games, suffered a left ankle injury in Week 3, appeared to be a high ankle sprain by video, placed on injured reserve. Lee also notes that this injury was similar to his ankle injury during his rookie year, which supports this thought. Returned Week 14, suffered a toe injury possibly prior to return, side not specified. Missed Weeks 16 and 17, went back to IR to end the season.

2020 Raiders

Did not play in 2020. Surgery in offseason June 26, 2020, on right ankle. Was placed on the PUP list, waived several days later with a failed physical designation, and didn’t play in 2020. The specifics or the reason for the ankle surgery are unknown.

2021 Bills/Las Vegas Raiders

Missed zero games, appeared in 11 games. Lee contracted COVID-19, requiring a nine-day stay on the COVID Reserve list in the middle of training camp while with the Bills. He did not make the team out of training camp and was released.

He caught back on with the Raiders’ practice squad, bouncing between the active roster and practice squad before playing a majority of the second half of the season primarily in a special teams role.

Buffalo Bills Impact

Lee has shown the ability to play defense when called upon but has had a heavy presence on special teams throughout his career. He has been primarily limited due to his multiple ankle injuries, missing an entire season in 2020.

Considering all the talent at the linebacker position, Lee will be able to carve out a reserve role and contribute on special teams if he makes the roster this season. Had he not dealt with COVID last season, it’s possible he could have made the team out of training camp. The Bills saw enough that they liked last season to bring him back for another chance in 2022.

It’s been several years since his ankle issues and with the limited snaps available, this could allow Lee to contribute while avoiding injury. I like the signing as he has proven production on special teams and can contribute to defense if called upon. This may be more of a sure thing than bringing in a rookie as they attempt to adjust to the NFL game.