ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Paul Posluszny extended his left arm and flexed it, raising the narrow line of the purple scar that runs from just above the wrist to nearly the bend of his elbow.
"Nice looking, isn't it?" the Buffalo Bills linebacker said after the team's voluntary minicamp practice Wednesday. "I wish it wasn't there, you know what I mean? But what are you going to do about it now?"
Eight months ago, Posluszny's rookie season ended prematurely after he broke two bones in his forearm while attempting to make a tackle in Week 3. In retrospect, Posluszny acknowledged it might have been wishful thinking believing he had some kind of superhuman healing ability that would have allowed him to come back and play the final few games of last season.
Now, though, it's a different story.
Fully healed and cleared for contact, and after having spent the past few months bulking up his already muscular 6-foot-1, 240-pound frame, Posluszny is eager for a fresh start.
No longer a rookie, but still relatively untested at the NFL level, he's looking forward to proving he can be the dominating middle linebacker the team expected after trading up in the second round to draft the Penn State product and two-time college defensive player of the year.
"I just can't wait," he said. "It's good to be back, competing with the guys and getting ready for a new year."
He's made a good impression two weeks into the team's spring sessions.
On Tuesday, he burst through the middle and bowled over backup center Duke Preston.
On Wednesday, during a red-zone team drill, Posluszny followed the play perfectly to make a leaping one-handed interception, picking off starter Trent Edwards' pass at the goal line.
"Yeah, finally got my hands on the ball," Posluszny said. "It felt good."
Linebackers coach Matt Sheldon is impressed by how Posluszny has kept up with the playbook to stay sharp, noting how positionally sound the player has been in practice.
That was particularly evident during a linebacker drill in which Posluszny went at the ball carrier, closing off the backside, setting up teammate Angelo Crowell to make the tackle.
"This is how we play it, that's fantastic!" Sheldon yelled.
"We've been very pleased very pleased with what he's done," Sheldon said, afterward. "We expect there to be a good amount of review done away from the facility. So he's done that work and it's starting to show."
Crowell, the senior member of the Bills linebacking corps, sees Posluszny growing in confidence, particularly in calling plays in the huddle.
"That's the biggest thing from last year, he wasn't too sure of himself," Crowell said. "But now, he has the confidence to go out there and make those calls."
Posluszny has noticed the difference, too. He credits having had a year to learn the playbook and also the help he's received from John DiGiorgio, who took over the job after Posluszny was hurt.
"Last year, calling things, I was just so nervous trying to get everyone lined up ... that I didn't have time to think about what I was doing on the field," he said. "But going through it, man, it's just so much easier now."
Together, they are expected to improve a unit that finished 31st in the NFL in yards allowed last season.
Posluszny is excited by the additions, aware of the defense's potential and understands how much he still has to prove. He also has a feeling of regret, believing he was responsible for letting down his teammates even though he had no control over getting hurt.
"When you can't do what you're supposed to do, it eats at you a little bit," Posluszny said. "I felt like I let down the team, my family, the fans. ... I can't wait to try to put that behind me."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.