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Bills release LB Posey after demotion

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (Aug. 7, 2006) -- The Buffalo Bills released linebacker Jeff Posey after the eight-year veteran lost his starting job to Angelo Crowell.

Posey was a three-year starter with Buffalo since joining the Bills as a free agent in 2003, registering 202 tackles, 9 1/2 sacks and an interception in 48 games.

His release didn't come as a big surprise after he was demoted during spring minicamps following Crowell's emergence. Posey's practice time remained limited during the first nine days of camp.

"We just felt it was in his best interest and our best interest to make this move early," coach Dick Jauron said. "He's got an opportunity, and he will catch on somewhere."

Crowell, a three-year veteran, is coming off an impressive season after he capably filled in as a starter in place of Takeo Spikes, who missed the final 13 games because of a torn right Achilles' tendon.

With Spikes -- a two-time Pro Bowl selection -- ready to return, Crowell remained in the starting mix alongside middle linebacker London Fletcher. The Bills are so high on Crowell that they plan for him to keep his spot at weak-side linebacker, switching Spikes to the strong side where he will play over the opposing team's tight end.

Spikes played the strong side during his first five seasons in Cincinnati.

Crowell has continued to shine during training camp, delivering some of the defense's best hits.

His speed and ability to drop into coverage and provide run support is considered key for an outside linebacker in the Cover 2-style defense being introduced by new coordinator Perry Fewell.

Posey's best season with Buffalo was in 2003 when he had 64 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks and forced four fumbles.

He broke into the NFL in 1998 with San Francisco as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi. Posey spent three years with the 49ers, and played for Carolina, Jacksonville and Houston.

Crowell was surprised by Posey's release, which was announced to the team over the weekend.

"The opportunity's upon me now," he said. "I'm just here trying to make a name for myself and make plays."

The Bills have placed a heavy emphasis this offseason on shaking up a defense that finished 29th last season and was particularly porous against the run.

Posey becomes the latest starter from last season to be released, joining defensive tackle Sam Adams and strong safety Lawyer Milloy, who were both cut in March.

Spikes was saddened by Posey's release, noting the two have played together since both joined the team in 2003.

"I felt like we could've used him in a lot of different ways," Spikes said. "It surprised me but then at the same time it kind of didn't. ... It definitely hurts, but sometimes change is good."

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