Naaman Roosevelt: It's Time for the Buffalo Bills to Bring Him Back
The Buffalo Bills disappointed a majority of the fanbase by bringing back Ruvell Martin when David Nelson went down. It wasn't necessarily that the fans were disappointed in Martin's return, they were peeved that Naaman Roosevelt was snubbed, again.
Who doesn't love a hometown hero? Roosevelt was born and raised in Buffalo. He attended the University of Buffalo, starring alongside quarterback Drew Willy and running back James Starks.
But everybody knows the business side of the game dictates the game. So what if Roosevelt was a good story; it doesn't matter if he can't play. However, Roosevelt has made plays on the field every time he's received an opportunity.
Roosevelt went undrafted in the 2010 NFL draft. He was signed by Buffalo as a free agent but cut during the final set of releases. However, he signed later that season and played in six games, with one start and 139 receiving yards.
In 2011, Roosevelt was cut again before the season. But like the year before, Roosevelt found himself back on the active roster, playing in 10 games last year. In his limited opportunities, Roosevelt recorded 16 receptions for 257 yards and a score.
In what would be his coming-out game against the team that would go on to become the Super Bowl champions that year, Roosevelt took a pass 60 yards to the house against the New York Giants. An undrafted player and hometown hero, who was twice cut, found himself back on the active roster and turned his limited role into a 60-yard touchdown at the house of the soon-to-be Super Bowl champs.
So his resilience should have been rewarded in 2012. In a loaded but disappointing group of receivers, Roosevelt had one of the better preseasons. He had the faith of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the love of the Bills Mafia.
But in a football decision, which a coach does for the benefit of the team, Roosevelt was let go. A bitter pill for Bills fans to swallow? Absolutely, but every other bubble player was also canned.
Maybe Buffalo didn't want to guarantee his contract. Maybe they were going to acquire a better player. Well, they added nobody, and they suffered a blow when Nelson was lost for the season after a week.
And when bringing back Roosevelt appeared to be written in the stars, Martin was brought back instead.
After a convincing win over Kansas City, many fans probably feel content with where the team is. But when the running game is shut down and Fitzpatrick will have to pass, which will be inevitable at some point this season, Roosevelt will not be able to make plays from his couch.
The Bills did what they thought was best for them, but a young, up-and-coming playmaker was let go for no apparent reason. His release came as a surprise, and his absence will hurt the Bills when the passing game will become a necessity.
If you were to ask Bills fans and Fitzpatrick, they would tell you that Roosevelt deserves to be catching passes on Sunday; Fitz needs all the help he can get. But ask Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix, and a disappointing answer will be given.
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