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EJ Manuel

Bills: Manuel To Start At QB

(WBEN/AP) The Buffalo Bills have announced that rookie EJ Manuel will be the starting quarterback for the team's hope opener against the New England Patriots this Sunday at Ralph WIlson Stadium.

Manuel appeared well on his way toward earning the job before he sustained a left knee injury of his own in Buffalo's second preseason game.
"Each day my injury has gotten better, and I’ve been doing two or three treatments a day,"  Manuel was quoted as saying on Buffalobills.com . "That’s helped me a lot."

Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement to the team at a 7:45 am meeting Wednesday, according to Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com, the team's website. 

"The team put Manuel through a battery of tests over the past few days," Brown writes, adding that staff found Manuel was to scramble  and escape "  trouble in the pocket if and when it presented itself.

Manuel's status had been in question after he had what the team called a "minor procedure" on his left knee on Aug. 18. The first-round draft pick was injured two days earlier while scrambling in a 20-16 preseason win over Minnesota.

Marrone had held out hope that Manuel would recover in time to start the season.

Manuel spent last week working out on his own, including throwing passes on the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium before the Bills preseason finale against Detroit on Aug. 29.

Manuel returned to practice on Sunday, when he was limited to working in individual drills. He then practiced fully on Monday.

The Bills put their future in Manuel after selecting him with the 16th pick in the NFL draft. The Florida State product was the first and only quarterback taken in the first round.

Had Manuel not been ready, the Bills would have had no choice but to have undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel start on Sunday.

Manuel's injury complicated the Bills plans at quarterback. He was supposed to have been competing with veteran free-agent addition Kevin Kolb for the starting job.

That competition ended when Kolb sustained a season-ending concussion in a 30-7 preseason loss at Washington on Aug. 24. Kolb has since been placed on injured reserve.

The Bills spent last week scrambling to add quarterbacks by signing free-agent veteran Matt Leinart and acquiring Thaddeus Lewis in a trade with Detroit.

Leinart was cut on Friday, a day after he struggled in a preseason loss to the Lions. Lewis was also cut, but has since been signed to Buffalo's practice squad.

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