Just when Star Lotulelei thought he was in, they pull him back out.
The Buffalo Bills' veteran defensive tackle, who opted out of last season because of COVID-19 concerns, was held out of practice with a groin injury, coach Sean McDermott revealed Wednesday afternoon.
This comes after Lotulelei had been trying to work through a calf injury that forced him to be scratched from their season opener against Pittsburgh. Lotulelei was able to come back and play 31 of 74 defensive snaps against the Dolphins in last Sunday's 35-0 victory and finished with one tackle.
The Bills are well-stocked at his position, however, and likely won't need to make a roster adjustment if this new development turns out to be manageable.
Interestingly, McDermott had some kind words about the operation of a defensive line that is transitioning to youth, with older players like Lotulelei, Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes possibly playing their final seasons in Buffalo this year.
"I'm seeing some older guys really fitting into a mix of younger guys," McDermott said, "and I think [defensive line] Coach [Eric] Washington and the coaches there are doing a good job of managing that. And I'm seeing at the same time some really good competition amongst the group, and I think that's healthy for us."
Buffalo's defensive line was the most dominant piece of Sunday's shutout, combing for thee sacks, six quarterback hits and 13 tackles.
Rookie Greg Rousseau led the way with the first two sacks of his career.
McDermott also talked extensively about his history with Ron Rivera, his counterpart on the Washington Football Team, the Bills' next opponent. We'll have more on that and their inclusion in the coaching tree of the Kansas City Chiefs' Andy Reid as the week progresses.
Finally, McDermott reminded everyone not to sleep on Washington's backup quarterback, Taylor Heinicke, who will be their starter again after Ryan Fitzpatrick went on the injured reserve list.
"Don't underestimate him," McDermott said. "He's a very good quarterback. You look at the Tampa Bay game the wild-card [playoff] game, eventual world champions, and he's within a score there in the fourth quarter of winning. So, you know, don't underestimate him. He's a very, very good quarterback, can make all the throws, he's mobile. He'll be a challenge."