Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller left the team to spend time with his family in Florida after the death of his step-grandfather last week, but has since returned to the organization.
UPDATE: Monday, Sept. 2, at 7:20 a.m. ET
John Murphy of BuffaloBills.com confirms C.J. Spiller has returned to the team:
At the end of practice Sunday, Bills RB C.J. Spiller stood outside the locker room greeting his teammates, dressed in street clothes.
Spiller had just returned from a week in his hometown in Florida...
... Spiller told reporters he’s very happy to be back with his teammates.
Murphy also passed along a statement from the star running back:
'I wanted to be around my guys,' [C.J. Spiller] said. 'I wanted to come and practice with these guys and get ready for New England. I understand that it is a tragic event that took place. It’s going to take a while to cope with it. But at the same time, I can’t forget the task and the goal and the dreams that we have here as a team and as an organization. I want to be a part of that.'
---End of update---
Tim Graham of The Buffalo News reports new Bills head coach Doug Marrone didn't initially have a timetable for the rising star's return to the team. Graham also provides details about the alleged incident:
Spiller's step-grandfather, Hubert Allen Jr., allegedly shot two men to death and wounded two others before killing himself Saturday morning in Union County, Fla.
"I think we all feel the same way," Bills coach Doug Marrone said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims as well as CJ and his family in this situation.
"I don't have any answer of when he's going to come back, but we're in communication, just making sure that we're there to support him, that he's doing well. And then obviously we're monitoring of when he needs to come back, but we want to make sure that he handles what he needs to handle."
Marrone later provided further information about the situation, stating Spiller would be expected back with Buffalo on Sunday, Sept. 1, per the Bills official Twitter feed:
Spiller is a crucial piece of a Bills offense that is seeking any semblance of stability, as the team's top two quarterbacks entering training camp—EJ Manuel and Kevin Kolb—are both dealing with injuries. Neither has a definite return date.
Spiller broke out last year in his third NFL season for 1,244 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 43 passes for 459 yards and two touchdowns.
The most important thing for Spiller was to be back with his family and as Marrone alluded to in his first remarks, the team is going to support him through this process and will worry about everything else when the time comes.
For the Bills, they need everything to come together perfectly between now and the opener against the division rival New England Patriots on Sept. 8.
Getting Spiller back at full strength, both physically and mentally, is a key piece of that puzzle.
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