By Jay Skurski
The Buffalo Bills had an eye toward the future today with their decision to release long-time punter Brian Moorman and replace him with rookie Shawn Powell.
“It goes back to trying to upgrade at the position and looking down the road,” General Manager Buddy Nix said this afternoon at One Bills Drive. “We evaluate everything every day, especially every week after a game. We do that, and then we look at things and say, ‘well, we can get better here’ and that’s what we try to do.”
Nix said the decision to release Moorman was harder because of his status within the team and community.
“It’s always a tough decision, and especially a guy like Brian that’s been here for 12 years and had a great career with the Bills, has been kind of a staple for this organization,” Nix said. “A lot of community service, he and his wife, I mean they do a lot of good things, and that makes it tougher, but a decision we felt like we needed to make.
“I’ve told you this 100 times, we try to look all the time at a possible way to upgrade and we look at more than just this week and trying to upgrade and get a little better at each position.
Nix said Moorman did most of the talking when informed of the decision, and was “very congenial.”
“[He was] thankful for the chance and for the years he spent with the Bills. [He] handled it really well. That’s never easy,” Nix said.
As to why the team felt Moorman was the better option over Powell three weeks ago when making final cuts, Nix said: “At the time we thought we made the right move, and today we think we did. Again, no reflection again on Brian. He’s done a great job here, and it’s just we’re moving on.”
Powell is 6-foot-4 and 248 pounds. He was an All-American at Florida State, and holds several of the Seminoles’ punting records. Powell had a 40.4-yard net average in the preseason.
“The upside’s really good on this guy,” Nix said. He’s a big man, which I think that helps punters. … He’s got a very strong leg, tremendous hang time. … We really liked him. In fact we even considered drafting him late last year.”
Nix said the decision on who will replace Moorman as the team’s holder will be up to coach Chan Gailey.