Passed over in the NFL draft in April, former Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel settled on signing with the Buffalo Bills with the sole objective of cracking the team’s roster.
As of Monday, he is in line to start in the Bills’ season opener against New England on Sept. 8.
“I came here to play football, and that’s what I’m doing,” Tuel said.
Tuel is in this position because of a string of injuries to the Bills’ quarterbacks.
Veteran Kevin Kolb is out indefinitely after sustaining a concussion — the third of his seven-year career. Rookie first-round pick EJ Manuel might not be ready to play because he’s recovering from a left knee injury he suffered in the second exhibition game.
The Bills signed free agent Matt Leinart on Sunday, but the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner needs time to get to know the offense.
Should Tuel start against New England, he would be the first undrafted rookie directly out of college to start Week 1 for any team since the NFL merger in 1970, according to STATS LLC.
Rookie coach Doug Marrone didn’t envision being unsettled on his starting QB so close to the start of the season.
“Well, I don’t know if I’d use the word crazy,” Marrone said. “But I would say a little bit of adversity, for sure.”
The Bills also traded with Detroit to acquire QB Thaddeus Lewis.
Tuel, 22, found it strange providing offensive tips to a 30-year-old Leinart, a 2006 first-round pick by Arizona.
“It was odd,” Tuel said. “The last time I saw Matt, I was watching him in the Rose Bowl in the national championship play Texas, and I was in the stands. I was like in eighth grade.”
Injuries to Manuel and Kolb gave Tuel more practice and playing time. In three exhibition games, he has thrown for 299 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He has completed 31 of 43 passes.
Donte’ Stallworth’s return from a hot air balloon mishap might have ended when he was released by the Washington Redskins.
Also cut as NFL teams tried to meet Tuesday’s deadline for 75-man rosters were receiver Braylon Edwards and running back-kick returner Joe McKnight by the Jets; receiver Derek Hagan and fullback Spencer Larsen by Tampa Bay; special teams ace Niko Koutouvides by New England; and receiver Jordan Norwood by Cleveland.
Ex-Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck is out as a TV analyst for the Titans after his arrest on a felony robbery charge. … The Browns ended rookie running back Dion Lewis’ season by placing him on injured reserve with a broken leg. … Cardinals rookie offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper, a first-round draft pick, could return in November if his broken leg heals.