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Brad Smith thanks Bills fans, but would love to return to Jets

By Tim Graham

When Brad Smith signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2011, much more was expected than delivered.

Chan Gailey craved Smith's versatility, and the receiver/quarterback/kick returner displayed a bunch. But one got the sense that figuring out the best way to deploy Smith was harder than anyone thought.

"I didn't put any expectation on it," Smith told me this afternoon of his time with the Bills. "I just wanted to come here, play as hard as I can, work with my teammates and let the chips fall where they may. I did that, so I'm proud of that.

"I enjoyed my time here and all the friends I made. It's been a good experience."

The Bills released Smith from injured reserve today. He suffered broken ribs in the preseason finale, and the Bills couldn't afford to wait two months for his return. Now he's ready to play again.

Smith did a little bit of everything for Buffalo. In his two seasons, he had 37 receptions for 392 yards and three touchdowns, ran 34 times for 203 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 23.6 yards a kickoff return with a touchdown. He also was a core-four special-teams player, making several key coverage tackles.

Smith could not play for the Bills this year because they put him on injured reserve, but he was able to negotiate his release. He said he's healthy and can help another team.

"It's been long," Smith said of his recovery. "I broke a few ribs in some weird spots. Once it healed enough so it wouldn't rebreak, I had the chance to get back to where I needed to be. I've been cleared by the doctor. I should be good."

Smith would love the opportunity to return to the New York Jets, where he played his first five seasons and became a favorite of coach Rex Ryan.

"Absolutely," Smith said of whether he'd like to go back. "That's a place I love. I love the fans just as much as I love the Bills fans. It's the place I started. That would be real cool."

But Smith also has fond memories of Western New York. His daughter was born here, he enjoyed the community and he's bullish on the Bills' future.

"I want to thank the fans," Smith said. "I appreciate them, the Bills Mafia and everybody for supporting the team.

"I wish them a lot of luck. They got a talented team on offense, defense and special teams. They're going to do well."

Bills release Brad Smith, whose multi-dimensional skill was unfulfilled

By Mark Gaughan

Brad Smith’s tenure as a potential multi-dimensional offensive weapon ended quietly on Friday. Smith was released from the injured reserve list, the team announced. Smith suffered an injury to his ribs in the exhibition finale but now is fully healthy. His release gives him a chance to try to hook on with another team for the final half of the season.

Smith failed to fulfill the vision former coach Chan Gailey had for him when he was signed in 2011. The Bills were targeting him as a key contributor as a Wildcat quarterback and a kick returner. They gave him a four-year contract that averaged $3.67 million a year.

However, the Wildcat formation never emerged as a productive element in the Bills’ offense. Smith had just 34 carries for 203 yards in 2011 and 2012. As a receiver, he caught 23 passes his first Bills season and 14 his second. He only wound up being a part-time kickoff returner, taking back 33 kicks over two seasons. He had one kickoff return for a touchdown last season. He was bidding to make the team strictly as a wide receiver this summer. He had restructured his contract over the summer to give himself a better shot to make the 53-man roster.

Eligibility for the IR-designated to return list

By Jay Skurski

From the in-case-you-were-wondering dept.:

None of the five players the Buffalo Bills have on injured reserve -- quarterback Kevin Kolb, wide receivers Kevin Elliott and Brad Smith, fullback Drew Smith and tight end Mike Caussin -- are eligible for NFL's injured reserve-designated to return list. Their seasons are over.

That's because those five players were put on injured reserve before the team had established its 53-man roster. 

To be eligible for the IR-designated to return label, a player must first be on the 53-man roster. Any time after 4 p.m. Tuesday, a player then can be placed on the list.

In the Bills' case, they have one injured player who may qualify. That is guard Doug Legursky, who suffered a knee injury Thursday in the final preseason game against the Detroit Lions. If the Bills did put Legursky on the list, it would keep him out for the first eight weeks of the season.

The team has already said cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who is out with a broken wrist, will not be put on the list, because they believe he will be ready to play in fewer than eight weeks.

Bills make 18 cuts, send three to injured reserve

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills made several roster moves today in advance of the 6 p.m. Saturday deadline to reduce their roster to 53 players.

Released/waived

  • Quarterback Matt Leinart
  • Running back Zach Brown
  • Running back Kendall Gaskins
  • Wide receiver Brandon Kaufman
  • Tight end Dorin Dickerson
  • Tight end Nick Provo
  • Center David Snow
  • Guard Antoine Caldwell
  • Guard Zack Chibane
  • Tackle Zebrie Sanders
  • Defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert
  • Defensive end Kourtnei Brown
  • Linebacker Keith Pough
  • Linebacker Brian Smith
  • Cornerback Crezdon Butler
  • Cornerback T.J. Heath
  • Cornerback Jordan Dangerfield
  • Cornerback Kip Edwards

Injured reserve

  • Quarterback Kevin Kolb (concussion)
  • Fullback Drew Smith (thumb)
  • Wide receiver Brad Smith (ribs)

Seasons are over for Kevin Kolb, Brad Smith

Kevin Kolb and Brad Smith
The Bills placed quarterback Kevin Kolb and receiver Brad Smith on injured reserve.

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have placed three players on injured reserve, ending their seasons.

Although several cuts were reported, the only official moves for now are quarterback Kevin Kolb, fullback Drew Smith and receiver Brad Smith heading to IR.

Left guard Doug Legursky suffered a nasty left knee injury in Thursday night's preseason finale against the Detroit Lions, but the Bills haven't declared their intentions for him yet.

Rosters must be trimmed to 53 players by 6 p.m. Saturday.

Kolb was diagnosed with a concussion from last weekend's exhibition at Washington. He has had at least three in his career, and the Bills couldn't afford to hold a roster spot open for such a serious and unpredictable injury.

Brad Smith injured his ribs Thursday night. Drew Smith has a thumb injury that will require surgery.

Jairus Byrd didn't even play, but he's seeing a foot specialist

By Tim Graham

ByrdMugThe Buffalo Bills were banged up in tonight's preseason finale against the Detroit Lions.

Left guard Doug Legursky suffered a knee injury the Bills aren't optimistic about. Receiver Brad Smith left the game with a rib injury. Rookie receiver Marquise Goodwin got poked in the eye and didn't return.

The most notable injury, though, might be to a player who didn't dress.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone revealed after the game safety Jairus Byrd left the team to have an injured foot examined by the same doctor who gave defensive end Mario Williams a second opinion at the start of training camp.

Continue reading "Jairus Byrd didn't even play, but he's seeing a foot specialist" »

For Bills' bubble receivers, preseason finale an unfair catch

By Tim Graham

A few Buffalo Bills wide receivers went into Thursday night's preseason finale fighting for their livelihoods. They needed opportunities, as many plays as possible, quality passes to catch.

With less than eight minutes left in a 35-13 loss to the Detroit Lions in Ralph Wilson Stadium, Bills wide receivers had three catches for 12 yards.

Roster aspirants Brad Smith, Chris Hogan, Marcus Easley and Brandon Kaufman haven't had it easy. They spent the summer catching passes from two rookies and a veteran journeyman who has missed much of camp with injuries and a family funeral.

Then, with their jobs on the line Thursday night and 53-man roster cuts due at 6 p.m. Saturday, the Bills used a pair of quarterbacks who weren't on the team four days earlier.

Continue reading "For Bills' bubble receivers, preseason finale an unfair catch" »

Points after: Lions 35, Bills 13

By Tim Graham

Quick highlights from the Buffalo Bills' exhibition loss to Detroit Lions tonight in Ralph Wilson Stadium ...

What it means: On one hand, nothing. It's the preseason. But getting outscored 65-13 over a seven-quarter span could mean a little something. The Bills are trying to change a culture of losing, and with several depth players in the spotlight and fighting for jobs, few showed any life.

Matt Leinart does little: The Heisman Trophy winner looked like a quarterback who didn't know the offense. Because he didn't. He signed with the Bills four days ago. But I'm certain he hoped for better than three completions on 10 attempts for 11 yards and two interceptions that each led to a Lions touchdown one play later. He also was sacked once. His career could be over.

Down on the corners: Buffalo's cornerbacks were atrocious, leading to some gaudy stats for Detroit backups Shaun Hill and Kellen Moore. Matthew Stafford was plagued by overthrows and dropped passes, or else the score would have been more lopsided. T.J. Heath and Crezdon Butler had particularly rough performances, allowing big plays and committing penalties.

Bills star of the game: Thad Lewis didn't look too shabby for someone who just showed up. With limited knowledge of the playbook, he scrambled on just about every play. He completed seven of 16 passes for 132 yards and a long touchdown with no interceptions. He ran seven times for 51 yards.

Play of the game: Midway through the fourth quarter, wide receiver Marcus Easley got a step on a defender up the right sideline. Lewis hit Easley in stride for a 79-yard touchdown.

Unfair night for receivers: One of the most interesting battles was at wide receiver. Easley, Brad Smith, Chris Hogan and Brandon Kaufman needed opportunities, but with a pair of backup quarterbacks, there weren't many quality throws to go around. With eight minutes left in the game, Bills wide receivers had three catches for 12 yards.

Injury report: Rookie receiver Marquise Godwin left at the end of the first quarter and didn't return after getting poked in the eye. ... Hogan was hurt on the second-half kickoff. He remained down before walking off with a limp but returned to the game. ... Smith was in the locker room having his ribs checked out in the third quarter. ... Left guard Doug Legursky was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with an apparent left knee injury.

Penalty rundown: The Bills had trouble with penalties throughout the preseason. They had nine for 74 yards against the Indianapolis Colts, 14 for 106 yards against the Minnesota Vkings, seven for 38 yards against Washington and nine for 60 yards tonight.

Coming up: The Bills open their regular-season schedule Sept. 8 against the New England Patriots in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Doug Marrone on release of Da'Rick Rogers: 'We feel that we have better players'

By Jay Skurski

Da'Rick Rogers' production with the Buffalo Bills simply never lived up to the hype.

Because of that, he's now a former Bill.

Rogers was one of five players released this morning, an unceremonious end to a brief career that began as an undrafted free agent in April. Rogers' size (6-foot-3, 208 pounds) and production in the Southeastern Conference with Tennessee in 2011 (67 catches, 1,040 yards, nine touchdowns) led many to believe he had the potential to be the steal of draft weekend — despite the character concerns he came with. Rogers was booted from Tennessee for multiple failed drug tests, and played last season at Tennessee Tech.

But throughout training camp, he was stuck behind players like Marcus Easley, Chris Hogan, Brad Smith and Brandon Kaufman on the depth chart. In Saturday's preseason game at Washington, Rogers did not get an offensive snap.

"He definitely has skill," Bills coach Doug Marrone said today of Rogers. "Along with DeMarco Sampson, who's played well for us in the preseason, but I think when you look at the production of that group, and who's produced for a long period of time, it's just a matter of, it's just as simple as, we feel that we have better players on the roster right now than the players that we released. That's what I've communicated to them."

Marrone said Rogers' production right now, more so than his potential in the future, factored into the decision. In three preseason games, he finished with just one catch (which went for a 6-yard touchdown against Indianapolis).

"I'm a big believer on the production part of it right now rather than what are we going to get down the road," the coach said. "So I think all those players that were released have the ability to play, but we feel as an organization that we just have better players right now."

Along with Rogers and Sampson, the Bills also released conerback Jumal Rolle, defensive back Dominique Ellis and center Ryan Turnley.

Kevin Kolb's head injury puts Bills in precarious QB position

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills' quarterback depth chart has even more question marks today, and it's difficult to fathom they're not in the market to sign another one soon. Perhaps they're already on the phone.

Kevin Kolb went into today's exhibition game against Washington with a chance to reinsert himself into the quarterback competition but left in the first quarter with a head injury.

Kolb was kneed in the back of the head on a scramble. He was taken to the locker room for evaluation and diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms. Kolb has had concussion problems before.

Continue reading "Kevin Kolb's head injury puts Bills in precarious QB position" »

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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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