ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Wide receiver Cole Beasley said that there are some things he wished he would have done differently in his first stint with the Buffalo Bills and that he talked with Bills coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane to address any lingering issues before rejoining the team.
“The last two years were difficult on everybody,” Beasley said Wednesday. “I don’t really want to go into all of the things we talked about, me and Brandon and Coach McDermott, but there needed to be some conversations there that we needed to have. I’m just happy that we all could that as men and talk about it and resolve issues.”
Beasley, 33, came out of retirement to sign to the Bills practice squad Tuesday after originally reaching out to Beane right after Thanksgiving about the possibility of returning to the team despite tweeting in early November, “You and me both” to a fan that said they were glad he’s not in Buffalo. His three-year tenure in Buffalo (2019-2021) came to an end after the 11-year veteran wide receiver requested a trade in early March and was ultimately released, a move that saved the Bills over $6 million in cap space.
Before bringing him back to the team, the Bills had extensive conversations throughout the building on his fit, as they would with any player that is brought in. Beane said it is not unrealistic that he could play Saturday night at home against the Miami Dolphins.
Beasley missed one game last season after testing positive for COVID-19 while being unvaccinated. The wide receiver was outspoken on social media about his thoughts on the NFL/NFLPA’s COVID-19 policies, including previously threatening to retire over it and discussing the issue with fans.
“I loved the fan base here. There were some times last year where I would get some stuff from people and it would be a little frustrating just because, before it wasn’t like that,” Beasley said. “So, it was a change. Nobody’s perfect. I didn’t handle everything how I wanted to and a lot of that was a big reason I wanted to come back as well. It’s really the internet world because outside of that there was nothing negative for the most part.”
During the 2021 season, he decided to delete his Twitter account after labeling it a distraction. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Beasley was fined multiple times for COVID-19 protocol violations.
In November, Beasley tweeted that he didn’t believe Brooklyn Nets basketball player Kyrie Irving should be suspended for tweeting about a movie containing antisemitic content and, in a since deleted tweet, said he won’t miss that part of professional sports.
“We talked about some things on the fringes without getting into our conversation, but I think Cole deep down is a good person and whether you agree with his views or not, at the core, he’s a good person,” Beane said. “And even throughout his tenure here, even though everything wasn’t perfect, he was never a malicious person, anything like that. It was just his way of communicating, and, so, we got on the same page of what we would want it to be with him here and … he saw it the same way.”
Beasley said that there had been free agent opportunities before he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in September, but that there weren’t ones he wanted and that he was a little bit surprised in the amount of interest. He only played in two games for the Buccaneers with four catches for 17 yards. Beasley said Tampa wasn’t the situation he thought it was going to be.
Wide receiver Jamison Crowder (broken ankle) was supposed to help the Bills fill some of what Beasley did for the team and split the slot receiver role with Isaiah McKenzie, but Crowder has been on injured reserve since early October. Wide receiver Jake Kumerow (ankle) is also on injured reserve.
“You look to add players that you think can help your football team so that’s the situation here,” McDermott said. “I think Isaiah has done some good things, Crowder before that did some nice things also, and we’re seeing if we can improve some of what we’re doing offensively in this case.”
Signing Beasley, however, is separate from the team’s decision on potentially adding free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who visited the team in between visits to the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys earlier this month.
“It doesn’t mean that we will or wouldn’t do it,” Beane said. “I think right now his timeline has moved back a little bit and making sure that he’s truly ready to roll, and so right now, we’re just kind of focused on the guys we got but wouldn’t rule out if it made sense further down the road.”