Monday, March 11, 2013

McKelvin set to compete for starting cornerback job


Leodis McKelvin is confident he can be a defensive starter in the NFL. So is his new head coach.

The Buffalo Bills held a press conference Monday to officially announce McKelvin’s re-signing, and coach Doug Marrone made sure to pass along his vote of confidence for the playmaking special teamer and defensive back.

“We’re excited that Leodis remains on our roster,” Marrone said in a statement, via “Obviously, he is one of the most exciting kick returners in the game today, but we’re also counting on him to be very competitive for the starting corner position opposite Stephon Gilmore. We feel he could play an important role in our defense moving forward.” (photo: Angelina Purpura, Flickr)

McKelvin has struggled since his arrival to secure a starting role in the defensive backfield, mainly because of his inconsistency in coverage. Former defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt had McKelvin as a slot corner to start last season, which turned out to be a disappointment. McKelvin showed improvement as the season went on, however, but it was on the outside while filling in for an injured Aaron Williams.

“I see myself being able to go out there and compete for the starting spot,” McKelvin said Monday. “Contracts say what they say, but I am just going out there competing, doing what I have to do to compete and make this team be better.

“As far as me as a corner and me being comfortable with myself, I know I can be a starting corner in this league. Like I said, it is a new start. All of that is going to be left in the past. I’m trying to just get better, be better as a player, get ready for this season coming up and get ready for this group.”

McKelvin will continue to battle Williams for a starting role, who is signed through 2014 and played much of last year at the starting position opposite Gilmore.

Other cornerbacks include Crezdon Butler and Justin Rogers, who are also currently set contract-wise until 2015. Rogers saw a decent amount of playing time last season, tallying 37 combined tackles and an interception. Butler forced two fumbles in his six games played in 2012.

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