Bills trim roster to 53

The Buffalo Bills cut 21 players from their roster on Saturday, including receivers Jonathan Smith and George Wilson. Among the players released who were thought to have had a good shot to make the roster were running back Lionel Gates, tight end Brad Cieslak, fullback Alan Ricard, and safety Rashad Baker.

The Bills also released CB Eric Bassey, LB Liam Ezekiel, FB Jon Goldsberry, DL Jason Hall, LB Wendell Hunter, RB Fred Jackson, DL Jason Jefferson, S Jim Leonhard, DL Ryan Neill, LB Joe Odom, DL Lauvale Sape, and OL Jason Thomas.

That paved the way for free-agent acquisition Andre Davis to make the team. Davis was on the bubble after a lackluster pre-season, but helped his chances with a 70-yard touchdown reception against Detroit in Buffalo's final pre-season game Thursday.

Anthony Thomas beat out Lionel Gates and Fred Jackson to be Willis McGahee's backup. Joe Burns was placed on injured reserve because of a forearm injury. Fullback Jon Goldsberry and Alan Ricard were cut, leaving only Damion Shelton as the only FB on the roster. Considering the production in the preseason, undersized RB Shaud Williams was a surprise to make the team.

Other notable cuts were offensive linemen Greg Jerman and Justin Geisinger, defensive backs Eric King and Rashad Baker, and running back Lionel Gates.

Baker, Leonhard and King fell victim to Buffalo's selection of three defensive backs - Donte Whitner, Ashton Youboty and Ko Simpson - in the first four rounds of April's draft.

Smith was a 2004 7th round pick, Gates was a 2005 7th rounder while Sape was a 6th rounder in 2003. Geisinger was a 6th rounder in 2005. King was a 5th round pick in 2005 and has shown well at times, but was beaten out by Kiwaukee Thomas and Ashton Youboty.

LB John DiGiorgio was a suprise to make the roster and will be the primary backup to London Fletcher.

Several of the announced cuts may end up on the practice squad roster. WR George Wilson had a number of big plays in the preseason, and will most likely be retained if not claimed by another club. TE Brad Cieslak, CB Eric Bassey, LB Wendell Hunter, and DL Ryan Neill are also front runners to land on the practice squad. The Bills can sign up to eight players to their practice squad Sunday, September 3rd at noon.

Bills head coach Dick Jauron said going in that there were going to be several difficult decisions, and some of the surprising cuts below show just how hard they were for Jauron and his staff as they released 21 players Saturday and placed Joe Burns on the Reserve/Injured List.

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