Teams that play in the Hall of Fame game get to open camp a week or so earlier than most other teams. Which gives the teams that play in the Hall of Fame game extra practice time.
Which, when coming before other teams have opened camp, makes those teams the center of media attention. Which, when one of their hottest young players gets injured, sets Twitter ablaze.
On Monday, Bills rookie receiver Sammy Watkins, based on simultaneous tweets from roughly a dozen or more media accounts, caught a ball in traffic and emerged with an injury. Some said he was dazed. Others said he appeared to have a cut on his forehead or eye.
After practice, coach Doug Marrone told reporters that Watkins had been poked in the eye. It’s one of the risks of football practice, especially when a guy is willing to go over the middle.
“He shows that,” Marrone said regarding Watkins’ fearlessness. “He’s made a very good career for himself, in college, being able to go over the middle. That’s always a big test when you get to this level to make sure you can come over the middle. He’s a fearless player and, again, at the same time you have to be smart when you do that.”
Luck is also a factor. On Monday, Watkins and the Bills got lucky.