ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (May 1, 2003) --
Willis McGahee had no problem climbing up two steps, making his way
to the podium for his first press conference as a member of the
Trouble is, it might be some time, possibly not until the 2004 season,
before the Miami Hurricanes' star running back can prove what he can do
on the field.
In making his first appearance in Buffalo since the Bills selected him
23rd in the 2003 NFL Draft, McGahee said he
still needs time to recover after tearing three ligaments in his left
knee in January.
"My condition is, I still have to rehab, I have to work on my knee,"
McGahee said. "It's really up to my doctors to see where I'm going. I
just have to work every day. And we'll decide from there."
That doesn't mean he's not eager to play.
"I'm ready to explode, but I've got to take it easy," McGahee said. "I
can't rush nothing. I've just got to sit back and wait."
Willis McGahee poses with his new Buffalo Bills jersey.
McGahee's in town as the Bills prepare to open a three-day minicamp for
rookies and newcomers. While he's nowhere near ready to suit up for
practice, he plans to spend the sessions watching from the sideline.
"I'll be out there," he said. "I don't know what they'll have me doing.
But I'll be there watching."
It's been a heady few days for McGahee, who's future went from uncertain
to being the first running back selected in the draft.
Once considered a top-five prospect, McGahee's stock plummeted when he
was hurt in Miami's championship game loss to Ohio State. Despite having
successful reconstructive surgery, questions remained whether he would
ever play again after setting school records with 1,753 yards rushing
and 28 touchdowns last season.
The Bills haven't ruled out placing McGahee on the physically unable to
perform list, allowing him more time to rehab. Under NFL rules, the
Bills would have the option to activate McGahee between weeks 10-14.
McGahee's confident he will return to form, noting he spends two hours a
day, six days a week working out.
"I think I'll even be better because the injury made me stronger in my
mind," McGahee said. "I have something to prove to myself. People know
what I can do, it's just the fact that I need to get back on the field
and do it again."
McGahee considers his rehab over with. He's now concentrating on getting
the strength back in his knee.
McGahee's selection created a stir for several reasons.
The Bills have an already well-stocked backfield featuring
Travis Henry, the NFL's fifth-leading rusher last season, and Olandis
Gary, who was signed a week prior to the draft.
McGahee's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, also drew notice as he credited his own
salesmanship for raising his client's stock.
McGahee wasn't complaining.
"He's a great agent," McGahee said. "He got me this far. I'm going to
stay with him."
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