McGahee Scores Four TDs in Scrimmage

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Four touchdowns, one big stiff-arm and a standing ovation: Not bad for Willis McGahee's first time competing in an NFL setting. "Today was a good day," the Bills running back said Saturday after a scrimmage against the Cleveland Browns. "I was a little nervous on the first series, but after the second series, when I kind of got into a rhythm, everything went good for me."

Selected 23rd overall in the 2003 draft, the former University of Miami star missed all of last season recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left knee, which he hurt in the national championship game against Ohio State earlier that year.

He experienced his first full-contact session in training camp earlier this week, and the scrimmage Saturday was McGahee's first time lining up against an opponent since he was hurt.

After scoring up the middle on a 1-yard plunge to cap a six-play, 65-yard drive, McGahee scored on three consecutive plays from the 2 during a goal-line drill. First he went off tackle to the left. Then he swept left and dived into the end zone, sneaking the ball just inside the pylon. And he finished with a strong run, punching through a small hole off right tackle.

On his way back to the sideline, McGahee was greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd behind the Buffalo bench at the Bills training camp site in suburban Rochester.

"It's good to know that they're behind me and they want to see how I do," McGahee said. "And I'm just glad to score and let them know that I can still do certain things."

Although looking tentative at times, he finished with 10 carries for 40 yards and one reception for 8 yards.

McGahee's most impressive run came at the end of a 5-yard gain. Sweeping right, he stiff-armed one defender and then dipped his shoulder, knocking over Cleveland defensive back Michael Jameson before the two tumbled into the sideline.

"That was good to see," Bills coach Mike Mularkey said. "It's your first time in live-action since that infamous game, so I think the rust is coming off slowly but surely."

By John Wawrow
Aug 8, 2004
© Copyright 2004-2005

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