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How a punter in Buffalo cost a safety his job in Dallas

SilvaAPBy Tim Graham

The butterfly effect can be fascinating sometimes.

Recall two weeks ago, when the Buffalo Bills released their punter. Then, 1,400 miles away, the Dallas Cowboys released a defensive back from their active roster to make room for that punter.

The defensive back, who played in the first three games for one of the NFL's premier franchises, was signed to the Bills' practice squad.

Quite the career-altering change for safety Mana Silva -- all because the Bills didn't want their punter.

"It's just a business in the NFL," Silva said.

Probably making the business feel even colder for Silva, the Cowboys might be on the verge of cutting former Bills punter Brian Moorman, who was signed to fill in for the injured-but-recovering Chris Jones.

So Silva's roster spot was given to a short-timer, and now he's barely in the NFL.

But maybe the Cowboys will bring Silva back. He was an undrafted rookie on the Bills' practice squad for about a month last season, and that's where the Cowboys found him, adding Silva to their roster for two games in December.

Silva made the Cowboys' active roster out of training camp and made his first two NFL tackles -- one on a 39-yard pass play from Eli Manning to Domenik Hixon -- in a season-opening victory over the New York Giants at the Meadowlands.

Silva said after the Cowboys cut him he "had a couple other options," but chose the Bills because he knew the coaching staff and the players.

"It just seems like a good situation, just the familiarity," Silva told me last week at One Bills Drive. "They have guys like [Jairus] Byrd and George [Wilson], good leaders that I can learn from.

"This is a great opportunity to just continue to improve my game and get better."

(Photo: Associated Press)

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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 |