In a move that came sooner than expected, veteran long snapper Ryan Neill was waived by the Bills on Wednesday following the conclusion of the team's training camp at St. John Fisher.
Neill was in a heated battle with rookie long snapper Garrison Sanborn, who impressed enough during a three-day tryout at Buffalo's rookie minicamp to be offered a contract. By the close of training camp Wednesday, Sanborn performed so well that he convinced the coaching staff that Neill was expendable.
The competition between the two specialists appeared to be a dead heat throughout training camp with many observers feeling that it would be a roster decision that would go down to the end of the preseason.
Sanborn's consistent accuracy matched that of Neill, and he appeared to have superior velocity on his long and short snaps as well.
Bills head coach Dick Jauron paid very close attention to special teams drills when long and short snaps were part of the special teams segment, even timing the splits from snap to kick on field goals and punts with a stopwatch.
Neill had been the team's designated long snapper for the past two seasons after signing as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Rutgers in 2006. He had controversially replaced Pro Bowl long snapper Mike Schneck. Dick Jauron had said at the time that the team was "making an investment" in Neill.
Now it appears another investment has been made by Buffalo's coaching staff in Sanborn. The former Florida State product has been timed between .72 and .75 seconds on his long snap delivery which is considered above average by NFL standards.
Sanborn (6'0" 240) was the Seminoles' long snapper for three seasons and also snapped for field goals for two and a half seasons. Despite playing in the Senior Bowl and the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star game as a long snapper in 2008 he went undrafted.
He did participate in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie camp that spring, but was not signed. Sanborn also was part of Buffalo's massive June tryout in 2008 and performed well enough that the team gave him a second look this past May. Sanborn did the rest.
Bills sign LB ElimimianWith the open roster spot Buffalo for the second time in a week addressed their linebacking corps signing Solomon Elimimian. Much like Sanborn, the undrafted free agent rookie was also one of the three-day tryout players for the Bills during the club's rookie minicamp this past May. As a result Elimimian has some basic knowledge of Buffalo's defensive system.
Elimimian (6'0" 225) was the WAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a senior for Hawaii in 2008, and finished his career as the school's all-time leading tackler with 434. He has experience as both an outside and middle linebacker.
The Bills looked as though they would be down in numbers at linebacker this weekend for their preseason game against the Packers on Saturday. Both Ashlee Palmer and Pat Thomas remain sidelined with injuries and both are not expected to play against Green Bay this weekend.