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Bills' decision on LB Crowell gets more significant

10/22/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Buffalo Bills middle linebacker John DiGiorgio is done for the year because of a knee injury.

I wonder what Angelo Crowell is up to these days?

Doesn't matter, I suppose. The Bills placed Crowell, their leading tackler last year, on injured reserve just before the season began even though he might've been back on the field by now.

Crowell's strange situation became that much more dubious with DiGiorgio's season coming to an end.

For those unfamiliar with Crowell's tale, here is a story I wrote last month. To summarize, the Bills were upset Crowell decided two days before the season opener he wanted to have arthroscopic surgery that likely would have sidelined him about four weeks. But the Bills were caught unaware. Incensed by the timing, they put him on IR.

Their hasty decision could haunt them.

Crowell played the strong-side linebacker position in Buffalo's 4-3 defense and amassed 126 tackles by the team's count. DiGiorgio was last year's starting middle linebacker when a broken forearm shelved Paul Posluszny.

Although they played slightly different positions, DiGiorgio's absence leaves Buffalo's depth that much weaker. They also lost rookie Alvin Bowen in training camp. To say the Bills couldn't use a healthy Crowell would be absurd.

Blake Costanzo, cut in training camp but re-signed when Crowell was placed on IR, is Buffalo's most seasoned backup. Costanzo has played nine career NFL games, including six this year, with zero starts. He is listed second on the depth chart behind Keith Ellison at Crowell's old position.

Crowell, whose contract is up after the season, left the Bills when they placed him on IR. His season already over, he opted for a more extensive procedure in mid-September and has been rehabbing in Pensacola, Fla.