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Bills stick with injured Merriman, then cut him

By Tim Graham

MerrimanMugThe Buffalo Bills held on to Shawne Merriman through a pair of season-ending injuries, but now that he's playing, routinely generating praise from head coach Chan Gailey and presumably healthy enough to play, they've cut him.

The Bills announced this morning they've released Merriman less than two years after claiming him off waivers from the San Diego Chargers and paying him a few million dollars.

In Merriman's first workout with the Bills in November 2010, he hurt his Achilles and was placed on injured reserve.

The Bills nevertheless signed him to a two-year contract extension two months later. He played five games last season before having season-ending Achilles surgery.

Throughout the summer -- voluntary workouts, minicamp, training camp -- Merriman repeatedly spoke about how great he felt. Gailey often spoke about how great Merriman looks and expressed excitement over the production Merriman could deliver.

When talking about how terrific the Bills' defensive depth should be, Merriman's name usually was the first mentioned as a top backup to Mario Williams and Mark Anderson/Chris Kelsay.

Merriman had been relatively healthy all summer, too. He missed two practices, one for a rolled ankle and another with a tight hamstring. He played both preseason games.

Perhaps a harbinger of Merriman's status is that he played well into the third quarter in Friday night's exhibition with the Minnesota Vikings. He finished with one solo tackle. Merriman had two assists in the preseason opener versus the Washington Redskins.

Merriman was due to make a $4 million base salary this season and already had been paid a $1 million roster bonus. His base salary last season was $2.75 million.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |