Reasoning Behind McKelvin’s I.R. Move

Posted on October 1, 2009 by Patrick Moran
If you’re a football player on the Buffalo Bills, the front office has a very straightforward message if you plan on sticking around; don’t get hurt.
 In a somewhat surprising move, the Bills today placed Leodis McKelvin on the season-ending injured reserved list. McKelvin broke the fibula bone in his right leg this past Sunday against New Orleans, an injury he re-aggravated after initially hurting it against Tampa Bay the week prior.
The move in large part was necessitated by running back Marshawn Lynch. The team needed to make a roster spot for Lynch after he returned Monday from a three game suspension. The deadline to make the move was 4pm today.
To the disbelief of many, the move results in McKelvin’s second season in the league ending prematurely.  We reported earlier this week the Bills were expected to release wide receiver/special teamer Justin Jenkins to make room for Lynch. Corey McIntyre was also considered a candidate for departure. That all changed when the Bills decided it was necessary to free up a roster spot by removing McKelvin from the equation.

By almost all accounts, McKelvin’s injury was one expected to take six to eight weeks to fully recover. At worst, the 11th overall pick of 2008 would be healthy enough to play the final month of the season.

It also marks the second time in three years the Bills ended a player’s season prematurely. During Paul Posluszny’s rookie season in 2007 the team placed him on injured reserve, like McKelvin after the third game of the season, with a broken arm. Posluszny was healthy enough to return for the final four games of but couldn’t because of his injured reserve status.

Much like ‘07, the move with McKelvin is in large part due to a rash of injuries that have yet again roughshod over the organization. Brad Butler is already out for the season with a right knee injury. Paul Posluszny is out with a broken arm for the next several weeks. Donte Whitner just had thumb surgery and his status is unknown. Bryan Scott is out for the time being with a high ankle sprain. Demetrius Bell is suffering the effects of a groin problem. John McCargo is out with a calf injury. It seems an annual occurrence this football team transforms into a M.A.S.H. unit.

Simply put, the Bills didn’t have the luxury of waiting for McKelvin to heal. Releasing a healthy player and keeping McKelvin around for the next several weeks without being able to play would’ve been two roster spot losses on a decimated roster. With so many injuries, the Bills need all the bodies they can get.

The Bills may be looking for a veteran free agent safety soon. They worked out a trio of them this past week. They’re also just one play away from a disaster at offensive tackle.

The Bills are also confident in veteran Drayton Florence, who will take McKelvin’s place in the starting lineup. Reggie Corner will remain the nickel back, while Ashton Youboty moves up a spot on the depth chart. Rookie Ellis Lankster has been inactive the first three weeks of the season but will be in uniform this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

This actually marks the third straight seasons a Bills season prematurely for a player on the injured list. Last year the Bills, angered that then starting linebacker Angelo Crowell underwent a knee procedure which would’ve keep him out a month, decided to put him on injured reserve in what many considered a sentence for waiting too long for the procedure.

But in McKelvin’s case, it’s not a conviction. They merely don’t have the healthy bodies to sustain the prolonged waiting period required for McKelvin to return.

(photo: Mike Thomas)

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