The Buffalo Bills are big on Reggie Ragland. But they don’t want a Reggie Ragland who’s too big.
The Bills don’t want the linebacker to weigh more than 255 pounds. If he does, the former Alabama standout will play a fine of $600 for every extra pound.
At 250 pounds now, Ragland isn’t planning on paying a cent for being over the limit.
“I can’t go over that,” Ragland said of the weight limit during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio last week. “The $600 a pound will kill me. That’s a lot (for) a kid that didn’t grow up with much, so I’m trying to keep every penny that I can.”
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The Bills will hold their first practice of training camp on Thursday afternoon at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York.
Buffalo selected Ragland in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft with the intention of starting him beside Preston Brown at the inside-linebacker spots. But on Aug. 5, Ragland suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during a training-camp practice, and the knee injury sidelined him for the entire season.
The Bills changed coaches after posting a 7-9 record in 2016 and missing the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season. Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott took the team’s reins from Rex Ryan.
The new coach brought a new defensive scheme with him. Instead of playing with Brown, Ragland is now competing with him to become the Bills’ starting middle linebacker.
“It’s a little bit different, because Rex Ryan is a 3-4 and coach McDermott, he loves the 4-3,” Ragland said of the defensive change. “But coach McDermott, he just wants everybody to line up and go, and with Rex, it was more complex in some ways. But for the most part, it’s just football — learn your gap, line up and go play football.”
His recovery after knee surgery caused Ragland to miss most of the Bills’ offseason program this year, limiting his chances to learn the new defense on the field until the final practices of the summer.
“It’s been tough, because last year I got to go through the system and learn the plays more and run through them with Rex,” Ragland said. “But this year, it was tougher because I got out there late to get to understand the plays and see things that everybody else has been seeing for a couple months. But I’m glad I got some type of reps in before training camp.”
Before reaching the NFL, Ragland earned All-State recognition three times at Bob Jones High School in Madison, then he helped Alabama win the CFP national championship for the 2015 season as a unanimous All-American and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
Buffalo kicks off its four-game preseason schedule on Aug. 10 against the Minnesota Vikings.