Bills Under Fire for ‘Mystery’ Delay of All-Pro Cornerback’s Return

Tre'Davious White

Getty Tre'Davious White celebrates an interception in a Buffalo Bills game.

The Buffalo Bills raised hopes when they activated All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White from the physically unable to perform list back in October, but now have raised concerns as more than a has passed without him returning to play.

White started the season in the final stages of rehab for a torn ACL suffered in last season’s Thanksgiving night win over the New Orleans Saints. He has since returned to practice as a full participant, but Bills head coach Sean McDermott said he is not yet ready to return to games.

McDermott has not divulged much more about why White has not yet returned, creating some mystery surrounding his condition and leading to criticism of the team’s lack of answers.

Bills Face Scrutiny for White’s Delay

As Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News noted, McDermott has insisted that White is no longer facing an injury but did not say exactly what is holding him back.

If he’s not hurt – and by not showing up on the injury report, there is no reason to think that he is – his continued absence has to be caused by something else,” Skurski wrote. “I asked Bills coach Sean McDermott on Monday whether White’s continued absence was physical or mental. He chose not to answer, which is leading to this mystery.”

Skurski added that there appears to be a disconnect between what the Bills have said publicly about White and their actions.

“It’s possible the Bills have determined White needs more practice time before he can get back on the field, but if that was the case, it would seem like they need to list him on the injury report,” he wrote. “By not doing so, it does seem that he’s physically ready to play. Since he’s not, that would mean the reason behind his continued absence would be mental.”

Others have joined in questioning the Bills’ answers regarding White, including Bills reporter Sal Maiorana who said it was “baffling” that he was still not ready to return.

Bills Supporting White as Return Nears

While the team faces some criticism for the handling of White’s return, other insiders have noted that it is not unusual for an injury as complicated as an ACL tear to come with a long and uneven recovery.

White himself has said that he faces both physical and mental challenges as he nears his return to the field, noted reporter Matt Parrino. The reporter added that White’s return is still within the normal timeline for an ACL tear, and also fits in with Buffalo’s more conservative approach to bringing players back after injuries.

“I think everyone needs to just relax a little bit,” he tweeted. “I get the excitement and anticipation for White’s return, but I truly think it’s coming. He was unflappable and measured when we spoke to him a few weeks ago. Seemed to be in an awesome place. We’ll see what comes next…”

Bills players and coaches have also offered support to White, including wide receiver Stefon Diggs who predicted that he would be back better than ever.

“I see he’s getting his confidence back, getting his swag back, more importantly,” Diggs said, via Parrino on Twitter. “He definitely brings another layer – (and) oomph to our defense that we get our number one corner back, so I look forward to that.”
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