Buffalo Bills coaches and teammates rallied to Marcell Dareus' support Wednesday after the second-year defensive tackle's younger brother was one of three people shot and killed in a suburb of Birmingham, Ala., last weekend.
"My heart goes out to Marcell, man," defensive end Mario Williams said. "I wish him the very best and to just take his time."
Dareus was excused from practice after flying home earlier this week to be with his family. Coach Chan Gailey said he's spoken with Dareus, who indicated he intends to be back in time to play in the home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
"Our condolences go out to him and the family," Gailey said. "He's got a lot on his plate, to say the least. I think he'll be back for Sunday's game whether it's tonight, tomorrow or the next day, I don't know. ... He wants to be back."
Dareus' younger brother, Simeon Gilmore, was one of three people killed during a burglary in Pelham, Ala., on Sunday. Authorities said 20-year-old Jon Staggs Jr. has been charged with capital murder and burglary.
Police have not released a possible motive.
Dareus is the Bills' 2011 first-round draft pick out of Alabama and has been a starter since his first game. He has an outgoing personality that's been infectious among his teammates.
"Any time that he's here, he's going to lift our team, and we'll be glad to have him," defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. "I'm sure that we'll be sensitive and let him take care of what the needs to take care of, and we'll be here to support him."
The game against the Chiefs (0-1) has already taken on additional importance for the Bills, who are seeking to rebound after a dreadful opening 48-28 loss at the Jets.
"I think the one thing we can all agree on in this locker room and outside of this locker room is there are many, many things that are more important in this game than losing a football game," Kyle Williams said. "Our prayers are obviously with him."
The Bills were otherwise healthy at practice Wednesday, with the exception of running back Fred Jackson, who will miss about four weeks after spraining his right knee against the Jets. It was a costly game: receiver David Nelson tore a ligament in his right knee and was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday.
Receiver Stevie Johnson practiced after being hampered by a nagging groin injury for much of last week.
Johnson said he's done being worried about his groin injury after he played through it on Sunday.
"I'm not even thinking about that no more," Johnson said. "I went through the whole game, and it didn't get any worse. So I'm cool with how it is, whatever it is, I'm good with it."
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