Longtime Buffalo Bills
placekicker Rian Lindell
was released by the team Monday.
Lindell owns the team record with an 83.3 field-goal percentage mark and was second in franchise history with 980 points and 225 field goals made.
Lindell lost the competition for the Bills' kicking job to sixth-round pick Dustin Hopkins
, who displayed a stronger leg in training camp.
"It's always tough when you have to release a player like Rian Lindell," coach Doug Marrone said. "A true professional that's obviously been with the organization for quite some time and I have a lot of respect for him even though I wasn't here with him in the past. One of the things when I saw him from the film last year and I was looking at and evaluating just kickoffs and long field goals, when he came back he worked extremely hard and was much much better than what I saw in the year's past. As far as the kickoffs and the long field goals. I think in the past 10 days, Dustin has performed better. So we made a decision to go with Dustin. It also gives Rian the ability, he's a great pro, gives him the ability to maybe go ahead and get with another team."
Hopkins said he heard the news directly from Lindell, who called him early Monday to congratulate him and wish Hopkins luck this season. Lindell's strength was his reliability, something Hopkins is aiming to emulate by perfecting repeatable mechanics.
"For the most part, my mechanics are feeling good," Hopkins said. "I'm breaking down film and making sure I'm documenting why I'm feeling better and being successful and things like that. And I think that's all part of being a pro."
After entering the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks, Lindell spent 10 of his 13 NFL sesons with the Bills. He made 21 of 24 field-goal attempts in 2012.
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