Naaman Roosevelt had a personal best five catches in their win last week.
Making local headlines for a big play or two is hardly unfamiliar territory for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt. It’s practically been a way of life for nearly a decade. From his high school days at St. Joe’s to snagging 104 receptions in 2008 at the University at Buffalo, he knows a thing or two about the region’s football landscape and vice versa.
Sunday, when Bills No. 2 receiver Donald Jones went down with an ankle injury, Roosevelt was back on Western New York’s grandest stage.
“This game is a crazy business,” Roosevelt said, who has been cut and re-signed twice in as many years by the Bills. “So I was definitely prepared for this moment.”
And prepared he was. Roosevelt reeled in five receptions – a personal best as a pro – including a critical 20-yarder in the late stages of the Bills’ 31-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Naaman just came through and did a couple great things for us,” said Bills head coach Chan Gailey. “That was big.”
As an undrafted rookie last year, Roosevelt totaled nine receptions for 139 yards for the Bills, including a four-catch, 74-yard effort late in the season against the New England Patriots. He spent a majority of the season on the practice squad.
David Nelson, another undrafted receiver to join the Bills a year ago, also stepped up in place of an injured starter this season.
“That’s what I told him after the game. I was like, ‘That’s how we do things.’ Roscoe (Parrish) went down, I had to step up,” Nelson said. “Donald went down, Naaman had to step up.”
“Naaman steps up,” said Stevie Johnson, the team’s primary receiver. “Naaman came in and we didn’t miss a beat. He did his thing and it just shows the type of guys we have on our team.”
Jones left Ralph Wilson Stadium on crutches Sunday, with his left foot in a boot. Gailey didn’t specify how long he will be sidelined, but said, “it’s going to be a while.”
For the 23-year-old Roosevelt, it’s yet another opportunity to shine while traveling down a familiar road. This time around, the speed limit’s just a bit faster and it’s strictly enforced.
“Naaman stepped up and did a good job, made some good catches for us,” Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “Next guy in line; I guess that’s what being in the NFL is about. You’ve got to take advantage of the opportunities when you get them. We’ll find out who the next guy is and see what he can do.”
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