Bills activate TE Nelson after suspension, release LB Ellis

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills activated tight end Shawn Nelson and released linebacker Chris Ellis, a former third-round draft pick who became the winless team's latest castoff.

The moves were announced Monday, the deadline for the Bills to activate or release Nelson, who opened the season serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Nelson finally has an opportunity to open his second NFL season after starting 12 games as a rookie last year, when he had 17 catches for 156 yards and one touchdown.

Nelson now has an extra week to prepare to reclaim the starting job as the Bills (0-5) enter their bye week off following a 36-26 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Ellis was the odd man out after failing to make the transition from defensive end to linebacker in the Bills' new 3-4 defense. The third-year pro started the first two games this season, but he was inactive in two of the past three.

Bills coach Chan Gailey was scheduled to address reporters later in the day.

Ellis has been regarded as a disappointment ever since the Bills selected him 72nd overall out of Virginia Tech in the 2008 draft. He has one sack, registered in Buffalo's season opener this year, and 13 tackles in 13 career games.

It's the latest move by a team in upheaval, coming one week after running back Marshawn Lynch was traded to the Seattle Seahawks and two weeks after former starting quarterback Trent Edwards was cut.

Ellis' departure is another sign of the team's spotty draft history, which has contributed to the Bills getting off to their worst start in 25 years. They appear like they'll miss the playoffs for an 11th consecutive season.

Lynch and Edwards' departures leave linebacker Paul Posluszny, a second-round pick, as the only member of the team's 2007 draft class still on the roster.

With Ellis gone, there are just four players left on Buffalo's roster from the 10 players the team drafted in 2008, including first-round pick Leodis McKelvin.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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