C.J. Spiller returns to the Bills after tragedyBy: Erika Watts - September 2, 2013
Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller has returned to the team after taking a leave of absence. Spiller spent approximately a week in Florida after his step-grandfather allegedly killed two people before committing suicide.
Hubert Allen Jr., Spiller’s step-grandfather, is accused of shooting four people near Tallahassee, Florida on August 24. The four victims were said to be former coworkers of Allen’s and were all listed in a note Allen left behind that said, “These people deserve to die.” The two men murdered were Rolando Gonzalez-Delgado, 28, and Allen’s former boss, Marvin Pritchett, who was 80. After the shooting, Allen returned home and turned the gun on himself. Allen was 72 at the time of his death.
Allen was married to Spiller’s late maternal grandmother, Nettie Allen. After learning of the tragedy, Spiller left New York to be with his family for the week while arrangements for his step-grandfather were made. While the situation is difficult for Spiller, he said during a press conference that he is now “ready to go” and will suit up against the New England Patriots next Sunday. “I understand that it is a tragic event that took place and it’s going to take a while to cope with, 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 an organization,” Spiller said.
In addition to returning to the Bills in the wake of a family tragedy, Spiller’s upcoming game will mark the first game he has played in after being injured during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins on August 24. The running back left early in the game with a knee injury sustained during a touchdown run, but is said to be fine now. This has to bring a sigh of relief for the Bills fan base since starting quarterback E.J. Manuel is questionable following a surgery.
Should Spiller get off to a strong start for the 2013 season, he may have a chance at breaking the single-season rushing yards record for the Bills. After rushing for more than 1,000 yards in 2012, the former Clemson star made the Pro Bowl roster, which was his first time receiving the designation.