AFC East: Blake COstanzo

Patriots drop Pass after brief comeback

June, 11, 2009
6/11/09
4:33
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Pass, too, shall come to this.

A week after they signed him, the New England Patriots announced Thursday they have released fullback Patrick Pass.

Earlier this week, Pass was doing interviews about his homecoming. It made for a great story, although not an enduring one.

The Patriots drafted him in the seventh round in 2000. He played on their three Super Bowl championship teams and left through free agency after the 2006 season.

He was out of the game in 2007 and 2008 to concentrate on family issues he didn't reveal.

Other notable cuts in the AFC East on Thursday included Buffalo Bills linebacker Blake Costanzo and New York Jets tight end Martrez Milner.

Paperwork flying in Orchard Park

February, 26, 2009
2/26/09
8:01
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills' most significant revelations Thursday dealt with two players they didn't want any more: Guard Derrick Dockery and tight end Robert Royal.

But they had a lot of assets they preferred to keep.

BuffaloBills.com writer Chris Brown wraps up all the moves they made Thursday.

The Bills re-signed third-string quarterback Gibran Hamdan, fullback Corey McIntyre and defensive back Dustin Fox.

Brown also reports the Bills extended low tenders to linebacker Keith Ellison and safety George Wilson.

The low tender is for one year at $1.01 million and gives the Bills the opportunity to match any offer sheet those players might sign. If the Bills decline to match, they would receive a draft pick commensurate with where that player was drafted -- in Ellison's case a sixth-round pick, and in Wilson's case nothing because he wasn't drafted.

The Bills also retained the rights to several exclusive-rights players: Quarterback Matt Baker, running back Fred Jackson, running back Bruce Hall, tight ends Derek Schouman and Jonathan Stupar, defensive end Copeland Bryan, linebacker Blake Costanzo and long snapper Ryan Neill.

One move not listed in Brown's report is tackle Kirk Chambers. My sources tell me terms have been reached on a multiyear deal. Chambers would have been an unrestricted free agent at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

Bills free-agency dossier

January, 16, 2009
1/16/09
4:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have a healthy number of free agents in every category, but not many regular starters among them.

Buffalo's priority free agents appear to be cornerback Jabari Greer, linebacker Keith Ellison, center Duke Preston, third-string quarterback Gibran Hamdan and not much else.

The Bills are about $27 million to $30 million under the salary cap.

Unrestricted (free to negotiate with any team beginning Feb. 27)

Restricted (Bills have right to match offer from other team)

Exclusive rights (cannot negotiate with other teams if tendered qualifying offer)

A new definition of Christmas Bills

December, 24, 2008
12/24/08
12:09
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

To get you in the holiday spirit, here is an entertaining video clip of the Buffalo Bills (mostly) singing the "12 Days of Christmas."

In the latest episode of Langston Walker's "68 Seconds" show on BuffaloBills.com, the players attempt a stirring rendition of the yuletide classic.

Linebacker Blake Costanzo tackles six geese a laying with the fervor of a man standing in line at the grocery checkout.

Rookie cornerback Leodis McKelvin clearly has never heard the song before.

Running back Marshawn Lynch probably should have offered one more "no comment."

But the star of the show is receiver Justin Jenkins, who landed the prize line of all carol lyrics.

Bills defensive coordinator 'disappointed'

November, 26, 2008
11/26/08
6:46
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills went into 2008 with high hopes on defense. Strong safety Donte Whitner was so psyched up about the season he issued a playoff guarantee over the summer.

The Bills traded for Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcus Stroud. Linebacker Paul Posluszny, a former Butkus Award winner, and Ko Simpson were returning from season-erasing injuries.

After 11 games, the Bills are about as pedestrian as you can get. They rank 19th in scoring defense, 16th in total defense, 20th in run defense and 16th in pass defense.

"I am disappointed with where we are at this point," Bills defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said Wednesday. "I didn't think we were an elite defense. I thought we were good enough to be in the top 15 or top 10 defenses.

"When you allow explosive plays, that screws up every number that you could think of. And then we had trouble, maybe two weeks we didn't do very well on third down, maybe three weeks. It's an accumulation of things like our continuity isn't as good as it was early, and so now we just have to get our continuity back and try and get our mojo back."

A few injuries have exposed a stunning lack of depth.

While the New England Patriots suffer a series of monumental, year-ending injuries and keep winning, the Bills are staggered by some nagging problems.

Pro Bowl defensive end Aaron Schobel has been the biggest loss, a bum foot keeping him out six straight games. Whitner has missed time with a separated shoulder. Cornerbacks Terrence McGee and Jabari Greer have battled sprained knees.

"As we always say, everybody's got their injuries," Bills coach Dick Jauron said. "You just have to find a way to play through them, over them, and find a way to get a victory somehow."

But what of their reserve linebackers? They made a controversial decision to put last year's leading tackler, Angelo Crowell, on injured reserve, seemingly to punish him for opting to have relatively minor knee surgery right before the season.

The backups behind Posluszny, Kawika Mitchell and Keith Ellison (he didn't practice Wednesday because of an ankle injury) have been a crew comprised of Blake Costanzo, Teddy Lehman, Jon Corto, Marcus Buggs and John DiGiorgio -- names that could be mistaken for the Tonawanda City Council.

Bryan Scott, the 6-foot-1, 219-pound safety, has been working out with the linebackers.

Bills' decision on LB Crowell gets more significant

October, 22, 2008
10/22/08
9:00
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills middle linebacker John DiGiorgio is done for the year because of a knee injury.

Crowell

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.

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