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Bills retain veteran linebacker

Posted Mar 9, 2012

The Bills front office stayed busy this week bringing back another of their upcoming free agents. Linebacker Kirk Morrison has agreed to terms with the club. “It feels great to get the deal done early,” Morrison said. “Last year was a transition year for me coming in late in training camp. It felt like I was fighting an uphill battle all season long to get on the field. The great thing about it was Chan Gailey and Dave Wannstedt saw the talent and what I could bring to this football team as far as my talent and my leadership”

Morrison saw action in 14 games with the Bills last season after signing with the team in late August.  He has started 95 of his 110 career games in the NFL, totaling 771 tackles, 6.0 sacks, seven interceptions and 18 passes defensed.

He had a tough time getting on the field last season because he signed less than two weeks before the season opener and had some catch up work to do in learning the Bills defense. By the time he fully adjusted to the scheme, Kelvin Sheppard had begun to emerge as the other middle linebacker opposite Nick Barnett.

With the defensive switch to a 4-3, Morrison finds himself in competition for the strong side linebacker position and he can also provide some experience in the middle backing up Sheppard. “I’ve played all three linebacker positions since I’ve been in the NFL.  I actually started 15 games at outside linebacker my rookie year in Oakland. I moved the middle midway through my second season so I am very familiar playing outside,” he said. “That versatility is something that can help the team out and whether it’s starting or backing up, it doesn’t matter I’m going to give everything I have. I want to start, I feel like I am a starter in this league. I started over 96 career games, I know what I can bring in that role and that’s the way I’m going to attack the offseason.”

Morrison is also excited about the look of the Bills defense under new Coordinator Dave Wannstedt, “I’m excited for what he brings. His style is fast, physical, just being able to get to the football.  And know your assignments, know where everybody is, and just having fun.  A lot of times we feel like we can set the tone in football games and we didn’t do that.  I think this year we want to be able to set the tone.  We want to be up there and shut some teams out.”

A full-time starter for almost his entire career, Morrison has been extremely productive and durable having only missed 2 games in his seven NFL seasons. Morrison (6’2” 240) thrived in Oakland’s defense the first five years of his career leading the Raiders in tackles four times in five seasons. He also had a career high four interceptions in 2007.

The 30-year old spent the 2010 season with Jacksonville after they acquired him from Oakland along with a fifth-round pick in exchange for a fourth-round pick.