Bills sign veteran end McKenzie

The Bills signed an unrestricted free agent defensive end from the Packers Tuesday. But it wasn't Vonnie Holliday. It was 29-year-old defensive end Keith McKenzie, former Buffalo Bill Reggie McKenzie's nephew.

McKenzie is coming off a weird year. He signed a pretty decent two-year, $2.85 million contract with the Bears last off-season and started three games for end Phillip Daniels, who was out early in the season. Unfortunately, McKenzie was ineffective, and the Bears cut him Oct. 16. He played just four games for Chicago.

One of the games McKenzie started was against Buffalo in Orchard Park, which the Bills won in overtime, 33-27. McKenzie, played right end and didn't record a tackle.

A month later he signed with Green Bay, which originally drafted him in the seventh round from Ball State in 1996.

But his second tour with the team didn't last long. The Packers released him after the season on Jan. 3. He played four games and missed the last two, including the Dec. 22 game vs. Buffalo and the season finale. He did not record any sacks.

Still, McKenzie once was known as a good pass rusher, recording eight sacks during three straight seasons from 1998 to 2000 – ‘98 and '99 for Green Bay and 2000 for Cleveland. As a Brown in 2001, he suffered a serious ankle break, which landed him on injured reserve. He was an unrestricted free agent after that year and signed with Chicago.

When McKenzie played in Green Bay the first time, critics charged that he was not physical enough against the run. So he mostly played in pass-rushing situations and he started just two games in four seasons there.

His first full season as a starting end was with the Browns in 2000.

In Buffalo, McKenzie would likely best fit at left end because he's not as fast as he once was, particularly after recovering from the ankle injury, which required surgery and four months of rehabilitation.


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