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Bills grant Vincent's request to be released

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Oct. 12, 2006) -- Troy Vincent is a free agent after the Buffalo Bills granted the veteran defensive back's wish to be released.

The team announced in a two-paragraph statement that it terminated Vincent from its injured reserve list.

Vincent told The Associated Press earlier in the day that he anticipated the move, saying he made the request to be released. The 15-year NFL veteran said he's open to offers to play for another team now that he's fully recovered from a left hamstring injury that led Buffalo to place him on IR four weeks ago.

"I'm ready to go," the 35-year-old Vincent said. "To be fair, it was the right time for me. ... Now's the time for me to look at where I'm at. And I still want to play some football."

Coach Dick Jauron was not available for comment following the announcement, but had anticipated the move earlier in the day.

Vincent had already cleared out his locker and his nameplate was no longer above his stall.

While Vincent said he enjoyed his two-plus seasons in Buffalo, he's not pleased with how the team handled his status after he was hurt in the Bills season-opening loss at New England.

Citing their depleted depth at safety, the Bills placed Vincent on IR to clear a roster spot even though his injury was considered relatively minor.

The Bills were also down veteran strong safety Matt Bowen, who has yet to play since breaking a bone in his lower right leg in August. Bowen and Vincent's injuries forced the team to start two rookie safeties, first-round pick Donte Whitner and fourth-rounder Ko Simpson.

Vincent, who had three years left on his contract beyond this season, believes the decision to put him on injured reserve was a way for the team to cut him by taking the unusual step of placing him on what's known as IR-minor.

While the designation meant Vincent was guaranteed his $2.6 million salary this season, it also would have allowed the team to release him once he was healthy.

"That was a front-office decision and you live with it," Vincent said. "When they put me on IR-minor, it's clear that's a decision they made that tells me they don't want you around. ... You don't want to be in a place where you're not wanted."

Vincent was surprised by the IR move particularly after he made the season-opening roster and after he initially hurt his hamstring in training camp.

A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Vincent is coming off a strong season in which he posted a career-high 102 tackles and led the Bills with four interceptions in 16 starts. He entered this season with 47 interceptions, most among active players.

He's one short of appearing in his 200th career game. Miami's first-round pick in the 1992 draft, Vincent played four seasons with the Dolphins before signing with Philadelphia as a free agent in 1996.

Vincent played the next eight seasons with the Eagles before signing with the Bills as a free agent in 2004. After spending his first 12 seasons as a cornerback, Vincent made the switch to free safety in his first season with Buffalo following the emergence of Terrence McGee.

Vincent was also re-elected last spring as the NFL Players Association president.

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