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Erik Pears nails down starting right tackle job

By Jay Skurski

Erik Pears was supposed to be pushed for his starting right tackle job this season with the Buffalo Bills.

But with Chris Hairston unable to practice during training camp, that never happened. Whatever chance there was for the competition ended Monday when Hairston was put on the reserve/non-football illness list, ending his season.

The good news for the Bills is that coach Doug Marrone has been pleased with Pears' performance.

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Chris Hairston out for season after going to reserve/non-football injury list

By Jay Skurski

Offensive tackle Chris Hairston, who was expected to compete for the starting job on the right side of the Buffalo Bills' offensive line this season, will not get that chance.

Hairston's season is over after the Bills moved him to their reserve/non-football injury list this afternoon.

Hairston did not practice at all during training camp while on the team's active/physically unable to perform list. His activity was limited to slow walks around the practice field at St. John Fisher College.

The move means Erik Pears is the likely starter on the right side, with Thomas Welch serving as the team's "swing tackle," the primary backup to both Pears and starting left tackle Cordy Glenn.

The Bills' active roster now sits at 75 players, meeting the maximum that will be allowed at the 4 p.m. deadline Tuesday. Safety Jairus Byrd has a two-week exemption from counting against that number.

Additionally, the Bills reached an injury settlement with guard Keith Williams and released him from injured reserve.

Bills release Mark Anderson; place Chris Hairston on PUP list

Mark Anderson played in just five games with the Bills last season

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills made a big roster move prior to the start of training camp, releasing veteran defensive end Mark Anderson after just one season with the team.

Anderson, 30, played in just five games with the Bills last season, making one sack, before a knee injury caused him to miss the rest of the year. He revealed toward the end of the season that the injury was a torn lateral meniscus, which necessitated two surgeries. 

Anderson only practiced on a limited basis in the spring, indicating the injury still had not healed to the team's liking. For his one season, Anderson will get $8.1 million from the team. He received a guaranteed $6 million signing bonus, his 2012 base salary of $1.9 million was guaranteed and he received $100,000 workout bonuses for last season and this year. The team will have $1.6 million on the 2013 salary cap in "dead money" -- the guaranteed portion of his signing bonus for this season, plus the workout bonus, and then a $3 million dead cap hit in 2014, accounting for the remaining two years of signing bonus money on Anderson's contract.

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine talked about how he saw Anderson fitting into his scheme during spring practices.

"I think Mark's specialty is rushing the passer and obviously he's very eager to do that, but he has some skill as an outside linebacker, as well, on early downs. We're going to take advantage of his strengths. We've been bringing him along slow. I think the training staff's done a great job getting him out there and getting him some reps. When he was coming out of Chicago a couple years ago, we really liked him as a guy coming off the edge. We're looking forward to having him healthy in the fall."

Anderson's release is a good sign for Jerry Hughes, whom the Bills acquired in a trade with Indianapolis this offseason for inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.

Additionally, the Bills placed offensive tackle Chris Hairston on the active/physically unable to perform list. Hairston missed most of the spring practices because of a lower body injury. He can come off the list when he is cleared to practice, but in the mean time the Bills can add another player to their roster if they so choose.

Doug Marrone's no-huddle attack not some Dick Jauron experiment

By Tim Graham

I have a feeling Doug Marrone isn't going to ditch his offseason plans to pick up the pace like Dick Jauron did four years ago.

In today's Buffalo News, reporter Mark Gaughan shines a spotlight on the Buffalo Bills' up-tempo offense through the eyes of the offensive linemen.

"You're putting a lot more yards under your feet and just getting ready for an offense that's not gonna stop," Bills tackle Chris Hairston said. "We're going to try to put pressure on all the teams and dictate the tempo and pace. We've done that since we've gotten back here. You're just really pushing yourself to go as fast as possible."

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Fourth-round picks historically have a cup of coffee with Bills

By Tim Graham

With the 105th pick of the 2013 NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills select ...

A fan will utter that line and reveal the name of that player April 27 in Radio City Music Hall.

Tim Hortons and the Bills are running a contest that will allow a fan to announce their fourth-round draft pick.

What kind of treat will that be? Based on the past dozen Bills fourth-round draft choices, you might want a box of Timbits instead.

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How easy would it be to replace Andy Levitre?

By Tim Graham

If the Buffalo Bills are unwilling or unable to re-sign left guard Andy Levitre, then there's little reason to get critical of his departure until we know on whom the club will choose to spend its money.

Buffalo News senior columnist Jerry Sullivan examined Levitre's situation for this morning's paper. The Bills don't have to re-sign Levitre.

From a practical standpoint, however, the Bills would have one more hole to fill without him. They would need to replace a quality guard who hasn't missed a start since he turned pro in 2009. editor Gregg Rosenthal ranked Levitre the best guard and ninth-best player at any position in this year's free-agency class.

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Why the Bills should think about drafting another OT early

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills seemed to have found a franchise tackle last year, when they drafted Cordy Glenn in the second round.

But the other tackle spot emerged as a major concern.

What if the Bills were to draft another top-flight tackle in April to give themselves bookends for years to come?

It's an intriguing thought.

Continue reading "Why the Bills should think about drafting another OT early" »


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 |