ORCHARD PARK, NY — After suffering his sixth documented concussion in the Buffalo Bills’ win over the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 17, center Mitch Morse cleared the concussion protocol and returned to practice Thursday.
Morse missed one game with the concussion (a win against the Chicago Bears on Saturday), with backup center Ryan Bates starting in his place. During the third quarter against the Dolphins, Morse was checked in the blue medical tent before being taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a head injury.
“Right when it happened, you knew that I was concussed,” Morse said Thursday. “And one of the nice things was I understood the process, the program, understood that all the people I talked to, the experiences I have gone through in the past. You know, at first it was a little emotional. But you kind of get out of that. And then you get into the protocol, and you get into the everyday deal. You start feeling better, you understand that it’s just one of those things. It’s part of my story and my football story. Feeling healthy.”
Morse, 30, missed most of the Bills’ training camp in 2019 with a concussion and suffered another in November 2020, leading to him not playing in the Bills’ next two games.
The center is in his fourth season with Buffalo after a four-year stint with the Kansas City Chiefs. The second-round pick in 2015 has started all 108 games in which he has played.
“Your emotions are heightened when something like this happens,” Morse said. “It’s also frustrating that it’s part of your story, but that’s part of life. You know, everyone’s got something they got to deal with. And I’d had two good years of mitigating everything I could, and this is one of those things , it was just unavoidable. We handled it the right way. They were very cautious with me. I was very honest with them. You know, had some conversations with people that I cared about, and we just marched on. Felt very comfortable, felt very fortunate to be where I’m at and felt very happy to be back out there and get to continue to compete with the guys.”
Without Morse against the Bears, the Bills ran for 254 yards, their most in a game in the past six seasons. But against a better run defense in the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night (8:30 pm, ESPN), having a healthy offensive line will be big for Buffalo.
Morse said he is planning to play Monday, but coach Sean McDermott said they will monitor his status throughout the week before making a decision.
The Bills were without wide receiver Stefon Diggs (illness), key special teams player Taiwan Jones (hamstring) and safety Jordan Poyer (knee) as they began preparations for the Bengals on Thursday.
If the Bills win their final two games of the season (they visit the New England Patriots on Jan. 8), they will clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They also can clinch the top seed with a win and a Chiefs loss to the Denver Broncos this weekend.
Having Morse back for Monday’s big game would be a positive for the Bills offense.
“I’ve got a lot of trust, a lot of faith in him. So comfortable with him,” quarterback Josh Allen said of Morse. “I know it sounds weird but even just taking snaps with him. We’ve been taking snaps the last 3½, four years so it’s extremely comfortable. Obviously, the player that he is and the mind that he is as well, it helps out our offense a lot. We’re happy to have him back out there.”