Branch, Lawson absent from Bills OTA

May, 28, 2014
May 28
3:40
PM ET
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Two veteran players did not participate in the Buffalo Bills' first organized team activity Wednesday.

Defensive tackle Alan Branch and defensive end Manny Lawson were not spotted at the OTA, which by NFL rules is voluntary.

"I haven't talked to them. It's voluntary. We all know that," coach Doug Marrone said. "I tend to not worry about the things that I can't control, and obviously I can't control that."

It's unclear if either will participate in any of the Bills' remaining OTAs, which continue through mid-June before the team's mandatory minicamp.

"I haven't seen either of those guys," Marrone said. "There's a lot of other guys here that I need to be concentrating on. My expectation is that it's voluntary. Any guy that shows up, I'm happy. If you don't show up, you don't have to. Otherwise, it's very difficult for me. So for me, hey, I'm fine."

Lawson started 15 games for the Bills last season at linebacker, but will move to defensive end under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and faces the possibility of a reduced role in the scheme.

Branch, meanwhile, figures to slide inside to defensive tackle under Schwartz after starting 13 games last season at defensive end. If the NFL suspends Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus after he was arrested on felony drug charges earlier this month, Branch could be his replacement in the starting lineup.

Kyle Williams, who was a team captain last season, commented on Branch's and Lawson's absence Wednesday.

"I have a family of my own. Different things happen for different people, so there might be something going on that they need to be there for," Williams said. "I think the guys that, when you're here, when you're in the building, you're going to work hard, do what you need to do, but I think everybody on our team would tell you that family is going to take precedent, no matter what it is. These things are voluntary.

"I'm sure those guys will show up at some point when they can and we'll be glad to have them."

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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