Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Bills News: Matt Milano Returns for Buffalo Defense at Mandatory Minicamp

The Buffalo Bills defense received a massive boost when the team opened mandatory minicamp on Tuesday. Which player was back on the field?

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott announced Tuesday that All-Pro linebacker Matt Milano will be a limited participant during mandatory minicamp.

Milano suffered a season-ending leg injury during the team’s Week 5 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last October. It was a massive blow to the Bills defense, which had lost cornerback Tre’Davious White to a torn Achilles just one week earlier.

The 29-year-old Boston College product’s return for minicamp should put him on track to open the 2024 NFL season on Buffalo’s active roster.

Matt Milano Back With Bills Defense After Leg Injury

Sean McDermott Says Team Will Handle LB’s Return “One Day At A Time”

McDermott confirmed Milano will begin with individual drills to see how his body responds after a return to football activity. His workload will then increase throughout training camp:

Although the Bills are taking a measured approach, the team’s eighth-year head coach didn’t shy away from the importance of getting the 2022 Pro Bowl selection back on the field.

“It’s big,” McDermott told reporters.

Milano joined Buffalo as a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft. He’s established himself as one of that year’s biggest steals thanks to his sideline-to-sideline playmaking ability.

Revamped Bills Defense Will Lean Heavily On Milano

It’s been an offseason of change for the Bills defensive group. Along with White, the unit also watched the departures of Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Leonard Floyd, Jordan Phillips, Tim Settle, Shaq Lawson and Dane Jackson.

Their exits create a lot of questions along the defensive line and in the secondary. That said, linebacker should be a point of significant strength for Buffalo if both Milano and Terrel Bernard, who missed the end of last season with an ankle injury, are back to full strength.

Milano recorded 99 total tackles, 11 passes defended, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and 1.5 sacks as part of his standout 2022 season. Bernard enjoyed a breakout 2023 campaign with 143 total tackles, 6.5 sacks and three interceptions.

The Bills only feature two linebackers in their base defense—slot corner Taron Johnson plays far more than a traditional third linebacker—so Milano and Bernard will handle most the of key assignments in the middle of the field.

Buffalo Already Dealing With Other Injury Issues

While Milano’s return was a welcome sight for the Bills on Tuesday, it wasn’t all good news on the injury front. ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg provided the full rundown from McDermott about who wasn’t available on the first day of minicamp:

Being without four reserve linebackers helps explain why two of the three tryout contracts signed went to the position: Stephen Hillis and Shaquille Quarterman. The other was running back Hassan Hall.

An injury list that long is better in mid-June than mid-September. Nevertheless, a lot of the players stuck on the sideline are those who will be fighting for spots on Buffalo’s 53-man roster in training camp, so they are missing out on valuable reps.

Bills mandatory minicamp runs through Thursday. It’s the last set of on-field practices before training camp kicks off in late July. An official camp start date hasn’t been announced.

Buffalo opens the regular season on Sept. 8 against the Arizona Cardinals.



More Posts

Send Us A Message