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Kirk Morrison wants to return to Bills, prove what he can do

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Kirk Morrison couldn't get on the field for an historically bad defense that was considered thin at linebacker.

"My knowledge of the game, how many consecutive games I've started over my career," Morrison said, "not to get a start or play significant time was frustrating."

Morrison signed a two-year contract with the Bills in 2011 after starting all but one game in his previous six seasons for the Oakland Raiders, where he was a captain, and Jacksonville Jaguars.

But Captain Kirk didn't start a game for the Bills. The Bills released him in December and then brought him back. They dressed him only three times. He finished with one special-teams tackle.

Despite his experience with Buffalo, Morrison wants to re-sign and prove himself all over again under new coach Doug Marrone.

"The accountability level is going to be higher, I think," Morrison said in the Super Bowl XLVII media center in New Orleans, where he was broadcasting for Fox Sports Radio.

"Hopefully, I'll get the opportunity to come back and sign a contract and get the chance I felt I never got. I just felt I never got the opportunity to get on the field in Buffalo. Coaching staffs sometimes have their minds made up on how they want to do things."

In the Bills' 4-3 alignment, head coach Chan Gailey and defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt used weak-side linebacker Nick Barnett, a combination of Arthur Moats and Nigel Bradham at strong-side linebacker and Kelvin Sheppard at middle linebacker.

"Everyone has to fight for their job again," Morrison said. "No job is safe. If you're a guy from the prior regime, you were their guy. New coaches want you to compete for your job because they don't know who you are as a player.

"That's one thing that's going to be great and different about this season. You're going to see in OTAs, mini-camps and training camp a high intensity. The guy who was drafted by the previous regime and thinks he's going to be around a bit? No, you've got to prove it."

Moats, Bradham and Sheppard are Bills draft choices.

Morrison also pointed out the Bills have hired two linebackers coaches, Chuck Driesbach and Jim O'Neil, indicating specialized usage. Bob Sanders was the linebackers coach last season.

Morrison played for four head coaches -- Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable -- in his five seasons with Oakland and was able to win the job each time.

"When you bring in a good coaching staff, you bring in the competition factor," Morrison said. "When I was in Oakland, every year was like fighting for my job. The cream is going to rise to the top, and I did that every single year.

"My mindset was, 'I've got to go out and fight for this,' and every year I was a starter."

tagged

Arthur Moats | Chan Gailey | Chuck Driesbach | Dave Wannstedt | Doug Marrone | Jim O'Neil | Kelvin Sheppard | Nick Barnett
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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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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