Bills linebacker Matt Milano cleared to resume practicing

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano has been cleared to resume practicing, with coach Sean McDermott on Tuesday saying the seven-year starter is projected to be a full-go once training camp opens next month.

McDermott said Milano, who sustained a severe injury to his right leg in Week 5 last season, was being eased back into action and would be a limited participant in practice as the Bills opened a three-day mandatory minicamp.

“Yeah it’s big,” McDermott said of Milano being on track in his lengthy rehabilitation.

“Credit to Matt and what he’s been able to do with our training staff and the work he’s put in,” McDermott said of a player who was limited to watching from the sideline during spring voluntary sessions. “He’s so focused. He was focused before this. I feel like he’s even more focused, if that’s even possible now, in wanting to get back out there for himself, but also for his teammates.”

Barring setbacks, McDermott said the team’s medical staff projection is Milano will be available to practice once the team opens camp at St. John Fisher University in Pittsford, on July 24.

Milano would only say “it felt good” to be back on the field in noting he’ll go into more detail in training camp.

Terrel Bernard, for one, was excited to have his fellow starter back, even in a limited basis.

“Having him back in the huddle, back in the lineup, it boosts everybody,” Bernard said. “I think everybody gets better when he’s out there.”

The 2022 All-Pro has been a key cog in the middle of Buffalo’s defense since being selected in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of Boston College. Though relatively undersized at 6-feet and 223 pounds, the 29-year-old’s sideline-to-sideline speed and hard-hitting ability has led to him being a three-down player since his rookie season.

Milano required surgery after breaking his leg and sustaining other damage during a 25-20 loss to Jacksonville in a game played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Oct. 8.

The Bills opened mandatory camp minus several injured regulars, including running back Ray Davis, a rookie fourth-round pick, and linebacker Nick Morrow, a veteran offseason free agent addition. McDermott did not reveal the nature of their injuries.

“We’ve had to cut back on some of the third group reps over the last week or so. And we may have to do the same today. We’ll see how it goes,” McDermott said.

Safety Mike Edwards, an offseason free agent addition, was set to return to practice on a limited basis after missing the previous spring sessions with a shoulder injury.

Returning starting cornerback Christian Benford was the only player not in attendance, with McDermott saying he was excused because of a family matter.