Saturday, June 15, 2013

Manuel feels like he's 'truly part of the team now'


When the Buffalo Bills selected E.J. Manuel in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the former Florida State signal-caller was automatically slated as a big part of the team's future.

For Manuel, actually signing on the dotted line was the icing on the cake. (photo: Zennie Abraham, Flickr)

“It’s a great feeling and I’m excited to be truly part of the team now,” Manuel told after inking his rookie contract Friday. “I had no doubt at all. I knew I was going to be here and it was going to be done before training camp.

"I’m just glad it was done earlier instead of later.”

Indirectly or not, Manuel made quite the leap during OTAs and minicamp. The Bills released quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who was supposedly battling with Manuel and fellow veteran Kevin Kolb for the starting job, last week.

It was quite obvious from the start that Kolb was the veteran frontrunner, followed by whoever the team drafted. But the fact that the Bills dropped Jackson this early shows that, at worst, they're prepared to have Manuel immediately step in the second they feel Kolb is unfit for the job.

And that could be before the regular season starts. If that's the case, Manuel said he's already in his element.

“I feel very comfortable around the coaches, my teammates and the guys on offense as well as defense," he said. "I love the competitive nature about the team. It’s a great blueprint that I’m happy to be a part of.”

Manuel was the last of the team's 2013 rookie class to sign.

Follow Nick @NickStDenis
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily