The plan to see if Shawne Merriman could be an answer to fill Buffalo's pass rush void will not come to fruition. Less than a month after being claimed off waivers by the Bills a strained Achilles injury left the club no choice but to put the veteran linebacker on injured reserve Saturday.
Joining him on injured reserve was fellow linebacker Keith Ellison. The five-year vet battled quad and knee injuries since the 2009 season. He was hoping his 2010 campaign would play out better after landing on injured reserve in Week 11 last year. Unfortunately for Ellison this season has played out similarly as the team placed him on I-R Saturday ending another year prematurely.
"We felt it was still going to be some time before Shawne and Keith were healthy enough to return to the field and we certainly were not going to have them return to action until they were physically ready to do so," said Bills GM Buddy Nix. "Knowing that we needed the roster spots, we felt this was the best move for our team and it's also best for both players. The most important thing at this point is for them to get healthy and this gives them that opportunity."
Claimed off waivers from San Diego on Nov. 3, it was hoped that Merriman could show glimpses of his three-time Pro Bowl form and provide the club with an option other than the 2011 draft pool for their 27th ranked pass rush. Unfortunately circumstances prevented the Bills from seeing if Merriman could be a fit in their defense in this the last year of his contract.
Less than 15 minutes into his first practice with the Bills on Nov. 10, Merriman pulled up with a strained Achilles, the same Achilles he injured in the preseason while still with the Chargers.
Meanwhile Ellison was unable to practice at all this week due to an unspecified knee injury. The veteran linebacker has also been inactive for two other games this season in Weeks 5 and 6. His contract is up as well after the season.
WR Roosevelt, LB Williams promotedThe Bills chose to fill the roster openings by promoting WR Naaman Roosevelt and LB Thomas Williams from their practice squad.
A Buffalo native and U.B.'s all-time leading receiver, Roosevelt was an undrafted free agent signing this past spring and has served on the team's practice squad all season.
"He's done an excellent job for us on the practice field," said Gailey. "He had a good preseason or he wouldn't be here now."
Roosevelt spent extra time field punts in practice Friday and stands a chance of seeing such duty on Sunday against the Steelers.
Released by the New England Patriots on Sept. 4, Williams has been serving on Buffalo's practice squad as an inside linebacker since he was signed by the club on Oct. 12.
The 6'1" 240-pound USC product is a former fifth-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars (2008). He appeared in six games for the Jaguars his rookie year serving mainly on special teams totaling three tackles and a forced fumble.
He spent portions of the 2009 season on the practice squads of Seattle and New England, before the Patriots signed him as a future free agent last January.