Sammy Watkins signs rookie contract with Bills
NFL team expects receiver to immediately step into lineup
The Buffalo Bills signed first-round pick Sammy Watkins to his rookie contract Wednesday.
The Bills announced the signing shortly after the team's first session of organized team activities.
"It's great just to put all that behind me, just to know you have financial stability," Watkins said. "Now it's just all football. Every day I have to come in and worry about football and my plays and my job and just work out there."
Buffalo is counting on Watkins to immediately step into the starting lineup for a team that has not been to the playoffs since 1999, the NFL's longest current drought.
The Bills moved up five spots in the draft in a trade with the Cleveland Browns to select Watkins fourth overall. The six-foot-one, 211-pound wideout is known for his playmaking abilities and has tremendous speed and hands.
Wednesday was Watkins's first official practice with quarterback EJ Manuel and the rest of the offence. He lined up with the starting unit at receiver alongside fellow off-season acquisition Mike Williams.
Watkins and Manuel had a slow start to the session. An early pass intended for Watkins was off the mark and intercepted by cornerback Corey Graham.
But the duo responded accordingly. The two later hooked up for receptions over the middle and down the left sideline.
"It's coming along," Watkins said. "We've got a lot to work on, a lot of different routes and schemes we've got to clean up a little bit. But it's a process."
Watkins will miss Buffalo's remaining two sessions this week as he heads to Los Angeles to participate in the 2014 NFLPA Rookie Premiere. He made it clear he would prefer to be on the football field adjusting to life with the Bills.
"I would rather stay here and get the connection with the quarterback. I don't want to fall behind," Watkins said. "It's kind of sad that I have to leave for three to four days and everybody has that two to three days ahead of me. So I really have to study the plays and get out there running and training, not get behind too far."