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Dareus kicked in calf, hopes to play vs. Jaguars

---Rookie defensive end Marcell Dareus told KISS 95.5 FM this morning that he was kicked in the calf during practice on Wednesday but doesn’t know if he’s going to be available for Saturday’s third preseason game against Jacksonville.

Dareus was seen on crutches following Wednesday’s practice with what was first believed to be an ankle injury.

“I got kicked in my calf and I bruised a muscle and they didn’t want to take a risk or anything like that, so they sent me out of practice and I got some treatment,” Dareus told KISS. “That’s pretty much all it is. We’re stretching it out, getting treatment but they didn’t want to take any risks because they didn’t know what was going on.’’

On the possibility of playing against Jacksonville, Dareus said: “I want to play. I think I am going to play, but I don’t know just yet.”

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Ravens pick up McKinnie

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---While the Bills continue to shuffle around their offensive linemen to find solutions, the Baltimore Ravens may have addressed its problems on the line with the signing of Bryant McKinnie.

The Bills are in such dire straits at left tackle that Andy Levitre, who has started at left guard 32 consecutive games for the Bills, could be the starter by the season opener in Kansas City. Projected starting left tackle Demetrius Bell said he was shocked to learn he would be rotating in practice with Levitre but his lackluster performance last Saturday against Denver prompted the move.

Signing McKinnie would have done at least two things for the Bills. It would have solved the issue at left tackle as well rectifying the mistake of selecting bust Mike Williams over McKinnie with the fourth pick in the 2002 draft.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Nix quotes on Maybin

Nix
On the release of Maybin:

It’s all about us as a team and trying to get better. I’ll say this every time, but it’s also about him.  We could have used him and gone on through the preseason and that kind of thing, and he would have had very little chance of being picked up.  This gives him a chance to maybe get on another team, fit in better and things work out good for him.

On if Maybin’s size and strength was an issue:

I saw where somebody said he didn’t fit the scheme. I don’t know what scheme he fits at that size, unless you’re a strong safety.  He says his metabolism and maybe that’s what it is.  He couldn’t hold weight.  He was 250 at the combine when we saw him and then he was 228 this fall.  He goes up and down some but not very high.

On how difficult it is giving up on a former first-round pick:

You make way more out of those picks than we do and than I do.  I know the money is a big deal.  I don’t think that will be as big now and as much pressure will be on the player.  I think what happens when you miss on a pick that high, a first or second or even third round, it sets you back because you keep trying to fill that void.  That’s the reason we took a little longer.  We needed him and wanted him to come through and wanted to make sure we gave him every opportunity.  He did everything he could do.  He practiced hard, he hustled and he did everything we asked of him.  It just didn’t work out.

On letting young guys get a chance at a roster spot:

And that’s what happens.  We said that and I’ve said that from day one.  A guy that has a chance to develop and be what you’re looking for that doesn’t get enough reps to do it, and that’s what happened.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Kelsay, Parrish sit out practice

---Linebacker Chris Kelsay and wide receiver Roscoe Parrish were among several players who sat out practice on Monday. Parrish also missed the majority of Sunday’s session.

“Both are feeling tight and instead of pushing it right now, since they get a day off [Tuesday], it’s almost 48-50 hours before we go again so we decided to give them the afternoon off so they can get back Wednesday,’’ Bills coach Chan Gailey said.

The number of players missing from practice has increased over the last three days. Second-year nose tackle Torell Troup left practice early Monday with what Gailey said was a hand injury.

Also missing practice were Demetrius Bell, Antonio Coleman, Drayton Florence, Justin Rogers, Marcus Easley, Shawn Nelson, Kellen Heard and Kelvin Sheppard. Fatigue, Gailey said, is a factor.

“When you get to practice eight and nine that’s where it’s starts to wear on them a little bit,’’ Gailey said. “They’ve been running and they’ve been doing things but they haven’t been carrying that extra weight and then their legs get a little fatigued. It’s mostly 90 percent lower body.’’

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic

Florence out for preseason opener

---Bills cornerback Drayton Florence will miss the Bills first preseason game against the Chicago Bears with an ankle injury, coach Chan Gailey said today.

Florence suffered the injury during Saturday night’s practice in a red zone drill. He tried to break up a pass and came down awkwardly, forcing him to miss the remainder of the practice. He did not practice this afternoon.

“He got a sprained ankle when he got down here in the end zone on a catch,” Gailey said. “He’ll be out ... four days, six days. Every guy is different when it comes to those.”

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Source: Cook could miss 4-6 weeks

---Former UB and St. Joe’s cornerback Domonic Cook could miss the next 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, according to a source. Cook is still being evaluated but initial reports indicate a torn meniscus, the source said.

Cook, who was invited to the Bills camp as an undrafted rookie free agent, suffered the injury Monday afternoon during practice. Midway through the workout, Cook walked off the field limping and was attended to by a trainer. Cook later walked into the locker room and didn't return.

While it’s unclear whether the injury ends Cook’s chances of making the team, the coaching staff likes his competitiveness and considered him a candidate for the practice squad.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Barnett pays Bills a visit

---Kelvin Sheppard needs a sidekick at inside linebacker. Could Nick Barnett be the one?

Barnett visited the Bills’ training camp at St. John Fisher on Sunday during the team’s morning walk through and spent the majority of his time chatting with assistant coach Dave Wannstedt.

The Detroit Lions – as well as Cleveland – expressed interest in signing Barnett, who was reportedly scheduled to visit Detroit today but the Lions instead signed Tennessee free agent linebacker Stephen Tulloch. Barnett was released by Green Bay last week.

After losing free agent linebacker Paul Posluszny to Jacksonville last week, Barnett would fill an obvious need. One player who would like to see the Bills add Barnett is Sheppard, the rookie from LSU, who came to terms on his deal Saturday evening.

“It was pretty cool watching him and watching the way he produced for the Packers,’’ Sheppard said today. “For him to come up to me and say, ‘What’s up Shep?’ that’s exciting. If he is an addition to our team, that would be great. How could you not like a guy like that on your team?’’

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Bills' first-rounder Dareus gets $20.4 million deal

The Buffalo Bills today reached a contract agreement with first round draft choice Marcell Dareus. Dareus, a defensive end from the University of Alabama, was the third overall pick in the NFL draft. His contract is worth $20.4 million for four years, according to a league source. It is fully guaranteed, as are the contracts of most of the first-round draft choices this year.

The Bills will have an option to retain him for a fifth year, according to league rules.

Dareus, a 6-3, 323-pounder, will step in immediately as a starter on the Bills' three-man defensive line. The Bills are counting on his presence to help improve the 32nd-ranked run defense in the NFL.

Dareus was the defensive Most Valuable Player in Alabama's victory over Texas in the January 2010 national championship game.

The Bills have also signed Da'Norris Searcy, a defensive back taken in the fourth round, and Johnny White, a running back taken in the fifth round.

The Bills have signed seven of their nine draft picks.

 

---Mark Gaughan

Bills announce undrafted free agent signings

---The Bills offically announced 19 undrafted rookie free agents which includes former St. Joe's and UB cornerback Domonic Cook. Here's the complete list:

LS Danny Aiken, Virginia
WR Kamar Aiken, Central Florida
DB Rajric Coleman, Utah State
CB Domonic Cook, UB
LB Robert Eddins, Ball State
P Reid Forrest, Washington State
DB Sidney Glover, West Virginia
K Chris Hazley, Virginia Tech
LB Brandon Hicks, Florida
LB Brad Jefferson, Georgia Tech
DE T.J. Langley, Arkansas Tech
CB Loyce Means, Houston
CB Doyle Miller, Nevada
RB Emmanuel Moody, Florida
DB Joshua Nesbitt, Georgia Tech
TE Zack Pianalto, North Carolina
C Michael Switzer, Ball State
RB Vai Taua, Nevada
G Isaiah Thompson, Houston

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

The new "Moose?"

The Dallas Cowboys haven't had a fullback as good as Daryl "Moose'' Johnston since he retired. But the Cowboys may have found someone in the same mold as the Lewiston-Porter High School legend and Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Famer.

Williamsville's Chris Gronkowski got the ultimate complement for a fullback when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told The Dallas Morning News that Gronkowski reminds him of Johnston, who the bone-jarring lead blocker for just-inducted Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith during the Cowboys' Super Bowl championship years in the early 1990s.

Gronkowski, an undrafted rookie out of Arizona, is having a good training camp. In fact, the 6-foot-2, 245-pounder has looked so good that DMN beat reporter Todd Archer already is predicting Gronkowski will win the starting fullback job over incumbent Deon Anderson.

Archer speculates the Cowboys could keep both players given their injury situation at tight end. Gronkowski, whose college career began at Maryland, served as a hybrid fullback/H-back/tight end at Arizona. Tight end is certainly in his blood with brothers Rob (a former Arizona teammate and rookie in New England) and Dan (entering his second year in Detroit) playing the position.

"He's versatile and he doesn't make many mistakes," Phillips said of Chris, who was praised by the coach for his performance against Cincinnati in the Hall of Fame game. "I'd like him to learn the fullback position before we go and put him at tight end."

No matter where he lines up, it's clear that Gronkowski is making a favorable impression in Cowboys camp. And it doesn't hurt that he's caught the eye of the team's owner.

---Allen Wilson

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