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With Donald Jones already gone, Bills dismiss David Nelson, too

By Tim Graham

First Donald Jones, now David Nelson.

The Buffalo Bills have declined to re-sign their second-leading receiver from each of the past two years.

Two days after Nelson expressed alarm about learning on Twitter the Bills would not bring him back, the Bills announced Sunday they will not extend a qualifying offer to him.

Nelson was a restricted free agent. Without a tendered offer, he will be free to sign with any team without the Bills receiving compensation.

"We spoke with David Nelson’s agent this morning and informed him that we will not tender David," Bills GM Buddy Nix said in a statement released by the team.

Nelson, an undrafted rookie in 2010, was a popular overachiever.

His 61 receptions and 658 yards two seasons ago were second to Stevie Johnson. Nelson also had five touchdowns, including a dramatic 6-yard grab with 14 seconds left to beat the Oakland Raiders in the home opener.

But Nelson suffered a season-ending knee injury on opening day against the New York Jets last year.

At the Super Bowl media center three weeks ago, Nelson told me he expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp.

The Bills announced two weeks ago they would not tender Jones, another 2010 undrafted rookie with health issues. Jones had 41 catches for 443 yards and four touchdowns, stats that ranked second among all wide receivers behind Johnson.

After Johnson, the Bills wide receiver with the most career receptions would rather not play wide receiver. Brad Smith, the erstwhile quarterback, has 101 catches for 949 yards and five TDs in his seven NFL seasons.


Brad Smith | Buddy Nix | David Nelson | Donald Jones | Stevie Johnson
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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 |