PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills ran out of time and patience in waiting for linebacker Aaron Maybin to develop before being left with little choice but to waive the former first-round pick on Monday.
"He put so much into it, but there wasn't any appreciable improvement," coach Chan Gailey said following the team's evening practice in suburban Rochester. "It was better to do it now than to do it later."
In two short years, Maybin went from promising pass-rusher to the Bills' latest first-round bust in a move made a little over three weeks into training camp and two days after he failed to make an impact in a preseason-opening 10-3 loss at Chicago.
Maybin's departure did not come as a surprise, especially after Gailey had already described the player's status as "tenuous" in January.
Selected 11th overall in the 2009 draft out of Penn State, Maybin failed to register a sack or even break into the team's starting lineup in 27 career games.
He appeared in only 11 games last season, with the low point coming during a midseason stretch when he was listed as an inactive for five straight games.
Maybin had become such a notable disappointment that Bills fans had begun to refer to him as "Maybe."
Maybin struggled keeping his weight up, which made it difficult for him to outmuscle opposing offensive linemen. He entered the NFL listed at 250 pounds, but had reported to camp last month listed at 228 pounds.
"That's the big thing," general manager Buddy Nix said, referring to Maybin's lack of size. "I saw where somebody said that he didn't fit the scheme. But I don't know what scheme he fits at that size unless you're a strong safety or something."
Maybin had complained that his metabolism made it difficult for him to easily add bulk. And yet he struggled last year after the Bills made the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, which was expected to better fit his style of play.
Nix insisted the Bills afforded Maybin numerous opportunities in part because of how high he was drafted.
"That's the reason we took a little longer. We needed him and we wanted him to come through," Nix said. "He did everything he could do. He practiced hard. He hustled. He did everything you asked of him. It just didn't work out."
Despite his on-field struggles, Maybin was mostly upbeat and jovial. He would often sing and joke with his teammates as he walked off the field following practice. And he often celebrated with a fist pump whenever he made a sack in practice.
That enthusiasm never translated into making an impact in games, where he saw most of his time playing on special teams.
Another consistent knock against Maybin was his ineffectiveness against the run, something that also led to coaches limiting his playing time.
The Bills were second guessed immediately after selecting Maybin, who entered the draft after three years at college, and with less than one full year as a starter with the Nittany Lions. Maybin did lead the Big 10 with 12 sacks in only 10 starts during in his junior and final season.
Maybin becomes the latest in a string of disappointing first-round picks drafted by the Bills this past decade. It's a group that includes offensive tackle Mike Williams, who was cut after only three seasons after being selected fourth overall in 2002. Other first-round picks who have failed to make an impact in Buffalo included quarterback J.P. Losman and defensive tackle John McCargo.
The Bills inconsistent drafting is among the key reasons they've gone 11 straight years without making the playoffs. That's tied with Detroit for the NFL's longest active drought.
Buffalo has now lost three first-round draft picks since the start of training camp. Besides cutting Maybin, the Bills lost safety Donte Whitner (selected eighth overall in 2006) to free agency, and traded receiver Lee Evans (13th in 2004) in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick to Baltimore on Friday.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press