The Buffalo Bills re-signed veteran defensive end Shawne Merriman, who was released on Aug. 20 and remained a free agent until he was called back to New York by general manager Buddy Nix.
The Bills were in need of pass-rush depth with Mark Anderson out indefinitely with a knee injury that will require surgery, but is not season-ending according to coach Chan Gaily.
"With Mark being out and not only Mark being out, but Spencer (Johnson) who is kind of our swing guy being out - we would rather not go into a game with just three defensive ends," Gailey said. "We do not know how long Spencer is going to be, so we are going to sign Shawne back and hopefully he will give us some pass rush off of the edge."
Merriman has battled an assortment of injuries limiting him to 23 games in the past five seasons. He has five sacks in that span and lacked the suddenness to fire off the line of scrimmage that made him a terror off the edge in the San Diego Chargers' 3-4 scheme.
Merriman entered training camp with the Bills knowing he was in a battle for his job. He was cleared to return to practice in late May and said he was as healthy as he has been since 2008. But he was ineffective transitioning from outside linebacker to defensive end while playing opposite Mario Williams, and he was cut with one year remaining on the two-year, $10,5 million deal he signed in 2011.
Nix said in August that Merriman was battling for the fourth defensive end spot.
"Let me say this -- he can play," Nix said in August. "He did everything. He has been healthy since OTAs. He had not missed anything. He is very attentive in meetings. He has worked hard at practice and he has played, in spots, really well during the games. He is a hard worker; he has done everything he could do.
"We think we have been patient but there comes a point where we felt like we needed to move on and look down the road. These young guys will get a shot."