Bills Bring Back Veteran OL Who Had Been Poached by Rival Team

Bobby Hart

Getty Bobby Hart rests during practice in Buffalo Billls training camp.

The Buffalo Bills are bringing in reinforcement after losing a key offensive lineman.

The team announced on Friday that it had signed offensive lineman Bobby Hart, who had spent the preseason with the team and was initially released in August before joining the practice squad in late September. He was then poached from the practice squad and signed by the Tennessee Titans, but has found his way back to Buffalo after being released and could play a significant role in Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

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Hart Back With the Bills

Hart rejoins a Bills team that has lost a pair of starting linemen. Guard Jon Feliciano was placed on injured reserve prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, meaning he will not be eligible to return until after the Thanksgiving Day matchup against the New Orleans Saints. Tackle Spencer Brown was also placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list this week, with the short turnaround between games on Sunday and Thursday putting him in jeopardy of missing two games depending on his vaccination status.

As Matt Warren of SB Nation’s Buffalo Rumblings noted, Hart could see significant playing time against the Colts on Sunday.

“With the signing, there is a very real chance that Hart could practice on Friday and start at right tackle Sunday,” he wrote. “That would allow Daryl Williams to stay at right guard where he has been much better this season and allow the rest of the line to keep continuity against the solid interior of the Colts’ defensive line. With rollouts and chips, the Bills might be able to game plan around Hart’s issues if the other four spots are solidified.”

The veteran Hart was drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, spending his first three seasons there before playing three more seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bills have some other reinforcements for Sunday. The team signed Jamil Douglas from the practice squad, and he could be in line to play at right guard.

Bills Could be Shorthanded Against Colts

The Bills could have other holes to fill on Sunday. Before Brown was placed on the reserve list, defensive lineman Star Lotulelei was also added to the list and his status remains up in the air. Bills head coach Sean McDermott didn’t give many details when asked by reporters on Wednesday, making it unclear whether he would be ready to play against the Colts.

“Don’t know. He’s still in that COVID process this morning,” McDermott said via video conference. “Seems to be all right, you know. Best I could tell you. I don’t see him, so.”

As Nick Wojton of USA Today’s Bills Wire noted, Lotulelei’s status, like Brown, will depend on his vaccination status. If Lotulelei is vaccinated, he will be able to return as soon as he has two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart. But if has not been vaccinated, Lotulelei will be out for a mandatory 10 days, and potentially longer if he still has symptoms.

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