Hard Knocks: Bills receiver Coleman can't escape Browns past
By JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — New Buffalo Bills wide receiver Corey Coleman can’t escape reminders of Cleveland no matter how hard he’s tried to put his two seasons with the Browns in the past.
First, there was the second episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series on Tuesday, which detailed how a frustrated Coleman demanded the Browns trade him. And then on Friday, the 2016 first-round draft pick is expected to make his Bills debut in a preseason game at Cleveland.
“Hey, it’s going to be weird. But I’m not out there anymore,” Coleman said. “I’m just treating it like any other game.”
As for TV cameras capturing his final days with the Browns, Coleman said he didn’t watch the episode but friends sent him clips. One features Coleman in his vehicle exiting the Browns’ parking lot for the last time and saying: “Adios, Cleveland.”
“It is what it is. Nothing really to explain,” Coleman told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
He added he bears “no hard feelings” toward the Browns.
Coleman appeared to have different feelings a few weeks ago when cameras filmed him entering Browns coach Hue Jackson’s office and questioning why he was demoted to practicing with the second stringers.
Jackson told Coleman to ask offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Coleman responded by saying: “If you don’t want me to play, why don’t you all just trade me?”
Coleman confirmed to the AP that he asked the Browns to trade him. In a sign of how far Coleman’s stock has fallen since being drafted with the No. 15 pick out of Baylor, Buffalo had to give up only a 2020 seventh-round selection to acquire him on Aug. 5.
The 24-year-old will be best remembered in Cleveland for two injury-shortened seasons and far too many dropped passes. The worst occurred late in the fourth quarter of last season’s finale at Pittsburgh that sealed the Browns’ 0-16 finish.
Coleman caught 56 of the 131 passes thrown in his direction for 718 yards and five touchdowns in 19 games.
In Buffalo, he joins an offense in transition, featuring a new coordinator, Brian Daboll, and a three-way quarterback competition, including rookie first-round pick Josh Allen.
It’s also an offense that lacks proven receivers behind starter Kelvin Benjamin.
Coleman’s first challenge is learning a new playbook and building chemistry with the three quarterbacks.
He’s not made much of a splash during his first week of practice, splitting time mostly with the second- and third-stringers.
On Wednesday, Coleman drew cheers when making an arms-outstretched leaping catch deep up the left sideline, only to have one foot land out of bounds. Before one snap during practice Tuesday, an offensive assistant went up to Coleman and directed him where to line up.
On the plus side, Coleman spends time working after practice and is usually among the last players off the field.
Coach Sean McDermott’s intention for Friday is to see how much Coleman can handle, as opposed to easing him in.
“We’re getting to the point now where it needs to be the former in terms of: ‘Here’s the playbook. You’ve got to know it,'” McDermott said. “The biggest thing is that we want him to come out, play fast, and play physical.”
Daboll said he has no preconceptions toward Coleman based on what happened in Cleveland.
“I just go by what I see,” Daboll said. “He works hard. He’s on time. He asks good questions.”
Coleman’s approach hasn’t changed since arriving at Bills camp saying he’s looking forward to a fresh start and wants to be measured by how he responds to what happened in Cleveland.
“Don’t take a day out here for granted,” Coleman said this week. “My main goal is getting better and helping the Buffalo Bills win.”
NOTES: The Bills had no update on Benjamin, who practiced on a limited basis for a second consecutive day. … DE Trent Murphy has been sidelined by a groin injury for a second time in three weeks and is expected to miss his second consecutive preseason game. … The Bills broke camp in suburban Rochester, New York, on Wednesday and will resume practice at their headquarters on Sunday.
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