(Timothy Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports)

The Buffalo Bills placed LB Tony Steward on the IR and promoted A.J. Tarpley

Steward was placed on the injured reserve with a back injury.

Tony Steward made his first NFL start last week for the Buffalo Bills before suffering a back injury against the Houston Texans. The injury has officially ended Steward's season as the team placed him on the injured reserve on Thursday. With an open roster spot, the Bills promoted linebacker A.J. Tarpley to their 53-man roster.

Buffalo drafted Steward in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL draft but an MCL injury kept him off the field during the preseason. Once he was healthy enough to play, Steward contributed on special teams. After Nigel Bradham went down with an injury, it appeared that the rookie would get a chance to show how he fit into Buffalo's defense. Unfortunately the back injury took Steward out of Sunday's game early and he'll have to wait until 2016 to get another chance to prove himself at linebacker.

Tarpley, an UDFA from Stanford, was active in 11 games for the Bills before being waived on November 30. The team later added Tarpley to their practice squad. Now, the linebacker has a chance to start on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Barring Bradham somehow being able to play, Tarpley or Kevin Reddick will be starting for the Bills on Sunday.

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