One Bills Drive - Three days away from the season opener and the Bills are getting set. But they didn't start getting ready for this year six weeks ago when they went to training camp. They started building this years roster in the middle of last season. And along the way, they picked up four players who are now in their starting lineup.
That's four players who were on the NFL scrap heap after being let go by their teams last season. All of them were added to the Buffalo roster in the middle of last season.
Shawne Merriman was claimed off waivers after the Chargers caught the former All Pro LB in November. Tight End Scott Chandler was added in early December, after the Cowboys cut him loose.
On the offensive line, right tackle Erik Pears was signed by Buffalo in mid-December 2010. He spent time on the Jaguars and Raiders rosters last year. And Guard Kraig Urbik was claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers, just before last season began.
You know what they say--one mans trash is another mans starter.
"A lot of those guys and myself, were given opportunities here which you're not get all the time, when you come in the middle of the season," says Chandler. "We were given opportunities, and I think for the most part, we took advantage of them."
Merriman's second chance with the Bills has been well documented this summer. And he appreciates the fact that the Bills claimed him off waivers, then kept him on the roster even though he was not fully recovered from injuries last year.
"One of the biggest things for me, especially last year, was I was banged up, and I couldn't play the way I wanted to play," he told News 4 Sports. "Them having the faith in me, to go out and be that guy again, meant everything to me. It meant more than they probably know."
Even though Merriman didn't play at all last year, the others did. Scott Chandler played in the Bills final four games of 2010 and started in the finale at the Jets. Pears played the final two games, and started in the finale at the Jets. Urbik played in ten games, with two starts, before he injured his knee.
Erik Pears said even when he got a chance to play last year, he wasn't sure it would mean playing time, or a starting spot, in the 2011 campaign.
"I didn't really know what the future held, " he said. "I just knew I had to work hard, just like I always had, and just run with it."
And the key for these players may be to keep running. The Bills say they're always on the lookout for players--even in the middle of the season.
"We continually try to upgrade," Head Coach Chan Gailey said Wednesday. "We say that every week, every time you ask me about a roster change. All were trying to do is upgrade. That's all were trying to do, is continually upgrade. And if we think someone upgrades us, then we
have to do it."
"They're always looking for the next guy to take your job," Chandler says, "so you've gotta perform up to the level that you know you can. You just got to out there and play."
Backup Nose Tackle Torell Troup missed practice on Thursday as he continues to battle a lower back problem. Gailey says they hope to get him ready to play Sunday against Kansas City.
Buffalo Police have arrested 26-year-old Nicholas Finnegan of South Buffalo and charged him with pushing Russ Ross to his death.
The Niagara County Sheriff's responded to Saunders Settlement Road near Comstock in Cambria Friday night after receiving a tip about a suspected meth lab.
Police say there were 32 burglaries, 20 in Albion, five in Medina, four in Oakfield and three in the City of Lockport.
Firefighters had to withdraw from a smoky fire in Blasdell at a multi-dwelling home on South Park Avenue Friday night because the flames were so intense.
Call 4 Action looked into claims this week that members of BJ's Wholesale Club were paying too much on sales tax on some deeply discounted items.
State Police in Pennsylvania are investigating an alleged pedophile pastor already facing charges in Western New York.