Buffalo Bills wide recevier Derek Hagan went through a nightmare scenario during Sunday’s training camp practice at St. John Fisher.
Hagan, one of several players battling for the team’s second wide receiver spot, came down funny on his ankle on the first play of the team’s 11-on-11 drill. It was a nervous few moments for the journeyman.
“It was a scratch, and a bit of a tough fall, but I continued to practice and kept going hard,” Hagan said.
Hagan avoided injury to stay in the hunt for the other starting wide receiver spot along with the likes of Donald Jones and David Nelson. Hagan brings the most experience to the team’s youthful receiving core entering his seventh season.
“I definitely think this passing game is pretty on point especially with the new editions like Derek Hagan,” said Stevie Johnson, Bills wide receiver. “He was here last year but he was not really as involved as much and I think he has been playing well.”
Hagan has had his opportunity throughout the preseason having played with the first team offense for most of training camp. His performance with the Bills last season put him in the running going into training camp.
The Bills signed Hagan last November and he collected 13 catches for 138 yards and one touchdown in four games. His best performance came in the season finale when he caught seven passes for 89 yards.
At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Hagan has the size and speed to be a threat on deep plays and on the goal line.
“The best thing I can do to help a guy be consistent is be consistent myself,” said Chan Gailey, Bills head coach.
“If I am consistent and he hears the same things every day, then he knows what to expect. And there is nobody giving better effort out there on our football field right now than Derek Hagan. And that is a great thing for him.”
Thanks to his play last season, Hagan received interest from plenty of teams this offseason. He wanted to stay in Buffalo though because he felt like Gailey’s pass-happy offense was the perfect fit for him.
“I just had a feel for the offense, I was real comfortable with it,” Hagan said. “Talking to (Gailey), knowing that there is an opportunity for me and this is the place that I wanted to be and hopefully I will be here for a long time.”
Hagan was eager to return the Buffalo after years of bouncing around the NFL.
He was drafted by the Dolphins in 2006 following an outstanding collegiate career at Arizona State University where he set school records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Hagan struggled his first two NFL seasons, catching only 50 passes and three touchdowns.
Page 2 of 2 - He was cut midway through the 2008 season and was signed by the Giants in December. Hagan stayed with the Giants until the start of the 2010 season. New York released him, only to resign him in November.
Hagan was signed by the Raiders during training camp last season, but released in November.
“To be here, there is nothing more that I can ask for,” Hagan said. “I am comfortable here. I love the offense and I love the city. We are looking forward to doing big things this year.”