ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) – The most highly anticipated Buffalo Bills season in more than 25 years kicks off Wednesday when the team opens training camp at Highmark Stadium.
General Manager Brandon Beane and Head Coach Sean McDermott held back-to-back press conferences in the morning to discuss the roster, expectations, Josh Allen’s contract negotiations, COVID-19 protocol and vaccination, plus more.
Beane began his media appearance by sending condolences to the family of Greg Knapp, a New York Jets assistant coach who died Friday after being hit by a car in California.
Beane said that offensive tackles Dion Dawkins and Ike Boettger are both currently in COVID protocol. The general manager said of those two, one is asymptomatic and the other is now. Beane said just over 80% of players on the team have received at least one dose of the vaccine. All of the coaches are vaccinated.
Additionally, defensive end Jerry Hughes will begin the year on the non-football injury list after straining his calf while training, Beane said. Hughes did not pass his entry physical.
Regarding wide receiver Cole Beasley’s recent rant on Twitter about COVID-19 vaccines, the general manager said he supports all his players as long as distractions don’t show up on the field.
“As long as it’s not a distraction — we don’t think it is an issue,” Beane said. “When we get our guys back on the field, I think you’ll see they are focused on football. Our unvaccinated guys, we’re behind them. We don’t make the rules, we just enforce them.”
Regarding a potential contraction extension for quarterback Josh Allen, Beane said there isn’t any “momentum” at this point, but added that negotiations can change quickly, using the deal with linebacker Matt Milano as an example.
“If something happens, great; if it doesn’t, we’ll focus on the season and pick it up next year,” Beane said.
Beane said any negotiations aren’t impacting Allen’s mindset heading into camp as the league’s runner-up for MVP looks to build on the most successful Bills season in decades. Allen has another year on his rookie deal after the upcoming season.
Despite last year’s accomplishments of winning the division and reaching the AFC Championship, the general manager said the past doesn’t matter at this point.
“What we did last doesn’t mean anything,” Beane said. “Got to hit reset.”
The head coach echoed the general manager’s sentiments.
“There’s a lot of work we have to do from where we are and where we want to get to,” McDermott said.
Full Sean McDermott press conference
McDermott said third year players, like running back Devin Singletary and tight end Dawson Knox, stand to benefit from a more structured offseason program, since last year’s was anything but conventional and the year prior the rookies were transitioning to the pros.
The Bills’ training camp schedule is as follows:
- Wednesday, July 28 (10 a.m.)
- Thursday, July 29 (10 a.m.)
- Friday, July 30 (10 a.m.)
- Saturday, July 31 (10 a.m.) at Highmark Stadium — fans welcome with tickets
- Sunday, August 1 (no practice)
- Monday, August 2 (10 a.m.)
- Tuesday, August 3 (10 a.m.)
- Wednesday, August 4 (no practice)
- Thursday, August 5 (10 a.m.)
- Friday, August 6 (10 a.m.)
- Saturday, August 7 (10 a.m.) at Highmark Stadium — fans welcome with tickets
- Sunday, August 8 (no practice)
- Monday, August 9 (10 a.m.)
- Tuesday, August 10 (10 a.m.)
- Wednesday, August 11 (10 a.m.)
- Thursday, August 12 (no practice, travel day)
- Friday, August 13 (Bills at Detroit, 7 p.m.)
- Saturday, August 14 (no practice)
- Sunday, August 15 (4 p.m.)
- Monday, August 16 (10 a.m.)
- Tuesday, August 17 (10 a.m.)
- Wednesday, August 18 (no practice)
- Thursday, August 19 (10 a.m.)
- Friday, August 20 (no practice, travel day)
- Saturday, August 21 (Bills at Chicago, 1 p.m.)
- Sunday, August 22 (4 p.m.)
- Monday, August 23 (no practice)
- Practice times for Tuesday, August 24 and beyond will be announced at a later date.
- The Wednesday, Sept. 1 practice scheduled for noon will have fans.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.