By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
The play was going just as it was planned — except for the part where Doug Legursky got hurt.
The end result was Legursky on the ground with an obvious left knee injury as one of his teammates waved for the trainers to attend to his fallen teammate. Legursky was carted off the Buffalo Bills practice field as everyone — including Legursky himself — feared the worst.
But Saturday — the deadline for NFL teams to make their final cuts and get rosters down to the 53-man limit — came and went, and Legursky is still there. That’s a strong indication the Beckley native will be there Sunday when his new teammates host the reigning AFC East champions, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Maybe not playing, but he’ll be there as his new team ushers in a new era of Buffalo Bills football.
“Anytime you get hurt, you fear the worst,” Legursky said in a phone interview Monday night. “But we got it scanned and we have a great training staff. It’s an injury I’ve had to come back from before. It’s a common injury. Hopefully I can come back from it again and be at 100 percent soon.”
Legursky was injured on a running play during practice last Thursday.
“It was an outside man scheme and he ran the ball behind me, which is what we wanted,” he said. “But when he got tackled he rolled in behind my knee.”
The injury has been described as “ugly,” but the 6-foot-1, 315-pound offensive lineman will not need surgery, and he will avoid those two dreaded words in NFL circles: injured reserve.
Buffalo News writer Jay Skurski wrote on his Twitter account, “Doug Marrone says guard Doug Legursky is not a candidate for the IR-designated to return list, indicating they expect him back sooner.”
“It looked worse than it actually was,” Legursky said.
Legursky would not divulge if there is a target date for his return.
“We have a time in our heads but we’re keeping that close to the vest,” he said. “We have five healthy, quality guys who are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Hopefully I can get back soon.”
Offensive line depth has been a focus for the Bills, who likely will have a rookie at quarterback. Whether that quarterback is first-round draft pick E.J. Manuel or undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel remains to be seen.
Manuel missed most the preseason after a minor knee operation three weeks ago, but returned to practice Monday.
Marrone, the first-year coach who came to Buffalo from Syracuse University, is expected to announce a decision on the starter today.
Whoever gets the start, Legursky is enjoying being with his new team after spending the first four seasons of his playing career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I’ve been around the fans a bit and they seem excited about this team,” Legursky said. “We’re doing things to try to change the way of life here and get back to winning football.”
Legursky was on the practice squad when the Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII before playing in 50 games, including 17 starts, over the next four seasons.
He started at center in Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl XLV loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Legursky graduated from Woodrow Wilson High and won the Hunt Award as the state’s top prep lineman his senior season of 2013. He then spent four seasons at Marshall, where he played in 47 consecutive games, including the final 32 in a row.
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org