Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller is back.
Spiller returned to Bills practice on Sunday after being on leave for a week due to an incident involving his step-grandfather in Florida, per Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News. Hubert Allen, Jr. went on a shooting spree on August 24, killing two people and wounding two others before turning the gun on himself.
Spiller spoke about the ordeal, saying it was an emotional time for him. He also thanked the Bills, which he deemed a “first-class” organization, for their support.
“It was very emotional. If anyone in here has ever lost someone close to them – I’m sure they have – a grandparent or whatever, then you have a feel for the emotions of what I was going through.
“It speaks volumes to the type of organization we have here. I was texting those guys, checking up on them and they were checking up on me. I was letting them know I was doing pretty good. So I…just want to thank everybody for the privacy for the most part for our family, as we were grieving.”
According to Union County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Lt. Lyn Williams via USA Today Sports, the 72-year-old Allen took his own life at his residence after he killed two men, including 80-year-old Marvin Pritchett, the owner of the Pritchett Trucking Company where Allen had been working for some time.
Spiller played and even scored on a 2-yard touchdown run in their 30-7 preseason loss to the Washington Redskins on the day of the unfortunate incident.
He said his running back group was the first to know about it.
“My running back group, Fred (Jackson) was the first one that knew. He came right up to me and he held his support. Coach (Tyrone) Wheatley was (also) up there talking to me and giving me support, just letting me have some moments to myself.”
Regarding his return, Spiller said he wanted to be around his team in spite of the tragedy.
“I wanted to be around my guys. I wanted to come and practice with these guys and get ready for New England. I understand that it is a tragic incident that took place. It’s going to take a while to cope with it. But at the same time, I can’t forget the task and the goal and the dreams that we have here as a team and as an organization. I want to be part of that.”
The 26-year-old Spiller was the ninth overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Bills. He is entering his fourth NFL season, so far amassing 2,088 yards on 388 carries for a 5.4 yards-per-carry average, per ESPN stats.