Sunday, September 1, 2013
C.J. Spiller returns from excused absence
By Mike Rodak
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller returned to the team on Sunday, one week after being excused from the team to handle family matters in Florida.
Police in Florida said that Spiller's step-grandfather, Hubert Allen, Jr., shot four people in Lake Butler on Aug. 24. Two of the victims died, and Allen, 72, later killed himself.
Spiller spoke to reporters Sunday, saying he decided to play in the Bills' preseason game at Washington hours after hearing the news.
"My running back group, Fred [Jackson] was the first one that knew," Spiller said. "He came right up to me and he held his support. Coach [Tyrone] Wheatley was [also] up there talking to me and giving me support, just letting me have some moments to myself."
Besides his teammates, Spiller thanked the Bills' administration for its support.
"It’s a small community [in Lake Butler], so when they wanted to send their condolences down to all of Union County, it speaks volumes about the organization that we have here," Spiller said. "The supporting cast of Coach Marrone, our CEO Russ [Brandon] and our general manager Doug Whaley; I was texting those guys, checking up on them, they were checking up on me. I was letting them know I was pretty good."
Marrone said that Spiller will return to practice Monday.
"I understand that it is a tragic event that took place and it’s going to take a while to cope with, but at the same time I can’t forget the task and the goal and the dreams that we have here as a team and an organization," Spiller said. "Once I touch the field, my main focus is football. That’s how my whole family wanted it. That’s how my mom wanted me to do. She told me when I come back to make sure my focus is on getting ready for New England."