Everett clear for long-term disability after release from Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills released Kevin Everett on Tuesday, clearing the way for the former tight end to receive disability benefits for the spinal cord injury that ended his career.

Everett was initially paralyzed from the neck down after a violent collision with then-Denver receiver Domenik Hixon on a kickoff return in last year's season opener.

Everett has made significant progress in his well-documented recovery. While doctors initially doubted he would walk again, the Texas native regained many motor skills, including the ability to walk without assistance.

Everett will be able to apply for long-term disability benefits and a one-time payment under the player health reimbursement plan. He would not have been eligible for the programs if he stayed on the Bills active roster.

"We had numerous discussions with the league in dealing with this process to assist him in the best way possible," the team said in a statement Tuesday. "Kevin will always remain a Buffalo Bill in the same way that Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and so many others before him are held in the highest regard by our franchise."

Everett, originally selected by the Bills in the third round of the 2005 draft, is also eligible for full pension benefits because of credit for three seasons.

"The Buffalo Bills continue to be moved by Kevin Everett's heartwarming story of his recovery," the statement said. "His progress from September 9 of last year through today is nothing short of a miracle, and is a tremendous example of faith, family and hard work."

Joining Everett on the waived/failed physical list is wide receiver Chris Denney, who sustained a knee injury while playing in NFL Europa last season. Denney was an undrafted free agent signed by the Bills in 2006.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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