Rookie QB Jeff Tuel of WSU is in line to start Buffalo’s opener
Rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel from Washington State is in line to start in the Buffalo Bills’ regular-season opener against New England on Sept. 8.
The Associated Press
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Passed over in the draft in April, ex-Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel settled on signing with the Buffalo Bills a few days later with the sole objective of cracking the team’s roster.
As of Monday, the rookie is in line to start in the Bills’ regular-season opener against New England on Sept. 8.
If that happens, Tuel would be the first undrafted rookie directly out of college to start at quarterback in Week 1 for any team since the NFL merger in 1970, according to STATS LLC.
“I came here to play football, and that’s what I’m doing,” the 22-year-old Tuel said. “It just explains, you can never expect. You never know what’s going to happen in this league. It’s why you’ve got to be ready.”
Tuel, WSU’s career leader in completion percentage, is a potential starter because of a series of injuries.
Veteran Kevin Kolb is out indefinitely after suffering his third concussion. Rookie EJ Manuel, a first-round pick from Florida State, is recovering from a left-knee injury.
First-year coach Doug Marrone said of Manuel, “When he’s back, he’ll be our quarterback.”
But until Manuel is ready to practice, the Bills are getting Tuel ready for a starting role and having him run the first-team offense.
“Right now, we’re planning on Jeff Tuel playing the first game and we’re working with EJ to get back as quickly as possible,” Marrone said.
Tuel has a 106.6 passer rating in the exhibition season.
In an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, WSU coach Mike Leach said Tuel was solid in terms of size and strength.
But in reference to the player’s 4-22 record as a Cougars starter, Leach said Tuel “never really won any games.”
Leach added, “Despite the fact he hasn’t had a lot, he needs to go out there and expect success . . . He’s got a couple years where that wasn’t reinforced.”
• Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore will miss at least six weeks; he has a broken left wrist.
• Linebacker Parys Haralson has been traded by the San Francisco 49ers, reportedly to New Orleans.
Haralson, 29, missed last season with a torn left triceps but started 47 games from the 2009 through 2011 regular seasons.
• Quarterback Tim Tebow survived New England’s cut to 77 players, but ex-Seahawks linebacker Niko Koutouvides did not. The Patriots must make two more moves before Tuesday’s league deadline to get to 75.
• Some players already cut: receiver Donte’ Stallworth by Washington; receiver Braylon Edwards and running back Joe McKnight by the New York Jets; and ex-Seahawks defensive end Lawrence Jackson by Minnesota.
• Violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy led to a four-game suspension for running back Mike Goodson of the Jets and a three-game suspension for Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton of Minnesota.