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Bills sign veteran LB Spragan

Dick Jauron made it pretty clear that fifth-round pick Alvin Bowen was likely lost for the season after suffering what appeared to be a severe knee injury in practice Friday afternoon. Buffalo decided to fill the void quickly signing veteran free agent linebacker Donnie Spragan Saturday.

Spragan arrived at the St. John Fisher campus shortly after 9 am and signed his contract less than an hour later. Due to logistics he wasn't able to make it onto the field in time for the team's morning practice Saturday. He's expected to be on the field when the team resumes training camp practice Monday.

The seven-year veteran had been a consideration of the Bills for a while. Spragan worked out for the club in early May, but was not signed after Buffalo picked up Bowen in the draft.

But now with Bowen presumably headed to injured reserve, Spragan was suddenly a viable alternative.

"We had the opportunity to work him out in the offseason, but we did not have room at that particular time on the roster," said defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. "He is a veteran presence and a smart young man. So we think he'll be able to learn the system. He's a heavier linebacker than we're accustomed to having, but we like that part of it."

Spragan has played mostly on the outside at linebacker in his NFL career and that's where Fewell sees him fitting for Buffalo.

"We think that the weak side position he'll be suited for and we'll start right away with him and indoctrinate him to the system," Fewell said.

Fewell isn't worried about Spragan being quick on the uptake with his defensive scheme as the veteran linebacker is known as an intelligent player. Spragan's challenge will be reacting quickly and executing the defensive calls that are made.

"The task will be getting him up to play speed and listening to the call quickly and having seven seconds to make reactions and that will be the part that we work with him in getting him up to speed."

Spragan most recently played for the Miami Dolphins, but was replaced in the starting lineup last season by Joey Porter and saw most of his time on special teams.

His best NFL season came in 2004 when as a full-time starter for the Denver Broncos he recorded 67 tackles, a sack and five pass breakups.

The 6'3" 242-pound linebacker just turned 32 last month.

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