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It's official: QB EJ Manuel will start for Bills vs. Patriots

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

It's official: EJ Manuel will start Sunday. (USATSI)
It's official: EJ Manuel will start Sunday. (USATSI)

Late Tuesday night, there was a report that EJ Manuel, and not Jeff Tuel, would be the starting quarterback for the Bills when they take on the Patriots in the regular-season opener this Sunday.

Now, the Bills have made it official with coach Doug Marrone making the announcement at a team meeting early Wednesday morning.

“The athletic training staff and coaches put Manuel through a battery of tests over the past few days with the primary focus on his mobility,” reported the team website. “All parties wanted to be sure that Manuel was physically capable of escaping trouble in the pocket if and when it presented itself. The Bills top draft choice obviously passed with flying colors.”

Said Manuel: "Each day my injury has gotten better, and I've been doing two or three treatments a day. That's helped me a lot ... I'm not really surprised. I try to work hard at everything. I can control whatever I can control, and I can control trying to get my knee better, and that's what I've done."

About a week ago, it appeared as though, because of Manuel's minor knee surgery, undrafted free agent rookie Jeff Tuel would get the start in Manuel's place.

But Manuel began practicing this week, and the reports on him out of Buffalo were good. So, the report Tuesday night and the announcement Wednesday weren't exactly a surprise.

"It's tough because it's the coach's decision, and a lot of it is on EJ and how he's feeling as well," Tuel said earlier this week. ”It's not so much in my hands; I'm just doing what I can control and doing the best to my abilities. I'll just leave it at that, leave it in coach's hands."

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