Report: Bills' AJ McCarron didn't fracture collarbone, expected to return to practice soon

AJ McCarron's quest to capture the Bills' starting job took a hit on Friday night, but the damage wasn't as significant as it initially seemed.

McCarron, who started the Bills' second preseason game against the Browns, didn't just suffer a poor performance before first-round rookie Josh Allen took over in the second quarter and submitted an impressive audition for the job. The former Bengal also suffered a shoulder injury, the team announced during the game. Later on Friday night, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News reported that the injury was a hairline fracture of the collarbone. 

But on Monday, ESPN's Adam Schefter provided a more optimistic outlook. According to Schefter, tests showed that McCarron did NOT fracture his collarbone and he's expected to return to practice soon.

With that being said, it still seems like McCarron is unlikely to win the starting job. Allen and second-year quarterback Nathan Peterman appear to be favored. After the Bills' preseason opener, the battle appeared to be between Peterman and McCarron -- and it was Peterman who looked the most impressive at the time. But Friday night might've drastically altered the race.

Not because of McCarron's injury. Because of Allen's performance.

After McCarron went 3 of 6 for 12 yards, Allen dazzled with both his arm and his footwork, going 9 of 13 for 60 yards, a touchdown, and a 104.6 passer rating.

As a result, Allen will now start the Bills' next preseason game, giving him a legitimate opportunity to win the starting job.

McCarron, 27, was taken by the Bengals in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. Over the course of four seasons, he started three games and made 11 total appearances, completing 64.7 percent of his passes for 920 yards, six touchdowns, two picks, and a 93.6 passer rating. In one playoff start, he completed only 56.1 percent of his passes for 212 yards, one touchdown, one pick, and a 68.3 passer rating.

Still, he's drawn interest over the years as a potential starting quarterback. At last season's trade deadline, the Browns tried to trade for him, but a paperwork snafu negated the deal. 

Ten months later, his first real opportunity to win a starting job might've ended against the Browns due to a poor performance and an injury that might prevent him from taking valuable reps in the near future, giving Allen the opening he needs to seize the job.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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