Bills coach Gregg Williams said today that Sam Cowart suffered a partial Achilles ankle tear and will be out a significant portion of the season. Buffalo won't put the Pro Bowl linebacker on Injured Reserve, however – not yet anyway – just don't expect him to be available for the next six games.

Williams said they're going to deal with the Cowart situation the same way the team dealt with Jerry Ostroski's broken leg. The coach is holding out hope that Ostroski will be able to return, but Ostroski said he would be out a long time, seeming to indicate that his return is doubtful. The same may be said for Cowart.

Cowart hurt himself on a third and 15 from the Buffalo 30 in which he faked blitz in the dime package, but dropped into coverage against Saints running back Ricky Williams. It was a non-contact injury, similar to when Dan Marino dropped back to pass and tore his Achilles against Cleveland in the mid-‘90s. There was no defender around Marino at the time.

Cowart didn't appear to be in the same kind of pain as Marino did that day. The linebacker motioned for the trainers and walked off the field under his own power. Marino, on the other hand, grabbed his Achilles' and was in serious discomfort. The next day he was placed on IR.

The Bills doctors aren't saying which leg it is, but looking at the video, it appeared that it might be Cowart's right leg.

Cowart was replaced in the game by second-year linebacker Kenyatta Wright, who played well, considering the circumstances. Wright is a top run stuffer, but not as strong in pass coverage. He may share time with rookie middle linebacker Brandon Spoon, who was inactive Sunday. Spoon also is a run stuffer, who needs to improve in pass coverage.

Williams said he'll try different linebacker packages to offset Cowart's loss.

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