By Jay Skurski
The Buffalo Bills have done some serious roster adjusting late this afternoon.
The team announced it has released kickoff specialist John Potter, along with placing right tackle Erik Pears and cornerback Terrence McGee on injured reserve.
Potter, a rookie out of Western Michigan, had 13 of his 26 kickoffs go for touchbacks, below the 70 percent standard both he and the team hoped to reach. He had been inactive the past two games.
"We had not been getting the number of touchbacks," coach Chan Gailey said following a loss to Tennessee in Week Seven of the decision to keep Potter inactive. "There have been real good kicks, but one of the advantages is having touchbacks where you don’t have to cover and take the licks."
Asked how long they could afford to keep Potter on the 53-man roster if he wasn't active, Gailey responded: "Good question."
The answer, it turns out, was one more game.
To fill one of the three suddenly available roster spots, the team promoted receiver Marcus Easley to the 53-man roster from its practice squad. Easley, a fourth-round draft pick of the team in 2010, is still looking to make his NFL debut after having his first two professional seasons wiped out by a knee injury and a heart ailment, respectively.
McGee, who missed his first game of the season Sunday, told The Buffalo News on Monday he planned to be back at practice Wednesday. He had fought all season to come back from surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon suffered in his left knee almost exactly a year ago.
The 31-year-old had started just 19 games over the past three seasons, and was in a rotation with second-year cornerback Aaron Williams this year.
Pears also never fully made it back from surgery he had before the season to address a groin/hip problem. He started Buffalo's first seven games, but was unable to dress for Sunday's loss in Houston following the team's bye week.
Gailey said last week Pears had gone to see a specialist about the injury.
The Bills still have two holes to fill on the 53-man roster. Williams is expected to miss 2-3 weeks because of a knee injury, so presently the team has just four healthy cornerbacks. With Pears lost for the season, the Bills also have just seven healthy offensive linemen.
Buffalo has three offensive lineman -- Keith Williams, Reggie Stephens and Andrew Jackson -- and two defensive backs, Mana Silva and T.J. Heath, on its practice squad if it decides to promote from within.
The Bills filled Easley's spot on the practice squad by signing receiver Chris Hogan, a 6-foot-1, 215-pounder from Monmouth. Hogan has spent time on the practice squad of the Giants and Dolphins.