ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Getting traded by the Philadelphia Eagles wasn't easy on receiver Jordan Matthews. Getting hurt in his first practice with the Buffalo Bills didn't help.
Putting his emotions and frustrations aside, Matthews vowed Sunday that he'll be healthy, ready and focused to play in the season opener against the New York Jets in three weeks.
"I want to go out there and prove myself to my teammates. I want them to know that I'm tough, and I want them to know that I'm not the type of guy that wants to miss practice and just be there for games." Matthews said. "I'm extremely confident I will be ready to play for Week 1."
Matthews took the first step by participating in very light drills along the sideline before practice. He was limited to running and catching softly tossed balls in his first workout since chipping a bone in his sternum a week ago.
The injury occurred when he fell hard to the turf along the left sideline while attempting to make a leaping catch alongside cornerback Shareece Wright. And it happened early into Matthews' first practice with Buffalo, two days after being acquired in a trade with Philadelphia.
The trade coincided with Buffalo making another trade in which the team dealt starting receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams.
Matthews immediately felt pain in his chest, but finished practice because he didn't want to acknowledge getting hurt.
"I kind of was in denial," Matthews said. "I was like, 'There's no way I just hurt myself my first day as a Bill; just not possible.'"
Matthews, however, sought treatment immediately after practice when experiencing discomfort in his arms and chest.
Though his breathing has improved, Matthews still experiences pain when he sneezes or laughs. He even noted turning down a chance to see a comedy at the movies in fear of how much it might hurt.
The Bills are counting on Matthews to play a key role in what is now a totally retooled group of receivers following Watkins' departure and recently signed veteran Anquan Boldin abruptly announcing his retirement on Sunday.
Though not as dynamic as Watkins, Matthews led Eagles receivers with a combined 225 catches, 2,873 yards and 19 touchdowns since being selected in the second round of the 2014 draft. He's scheduled to fill a starting role alongside rookie second-round pick Zay Jones.
Matthews still has lingering emotions over leaving Philadelphia, where in three seasons he established close bonds with numerous players, including quarterback Carson Wentz.
"I don't think some of those emotions ever wear off, and you kind of don't want them to because it means that it was something real," he said.
Matthews said he's spent the past week focusing on learning the playbook and consulting with quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
"I'm a person that believes all these types of things happen for a reason," Matthews said, referring to the injury. "So it must have been because I needed more time to get acclimated to the playbook and get to know these guys."
He can't wait to get back out on the field.
"I was excited to get back out there a little bit and run around," Matthews said. "I'm really looking forward to getting back out there and playing."
Earlier in the day, the Bills signed tight end Rory Anderson and safety Adrian McDonald. They freed up the roster spots by designating tight end Jason Croom as waived/injured and releasing punter Austin Rehkow.
Anderson has yet to play an NFL game since being selected by San Francisco in the seventh round of the 2015 draft. He missed his entire rookie season because of an ankle injury. McDonald has no NFL experience and was signed by San Diego as an undrafted free agent in 2016.
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