Marrone: Performance led to Bills cutting Branch
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Bills defensive tackle Alan Branch's future with the team was in jeopardy even before he was arrested and charged with drunken driving, coach Doug Marrone said Monday.
''A lot of things factor in decisions, don't get me wrong, but the main factor was performance. Not even close,'' Marrone said a day after the Bills cut the eighth-year player. ''He didn't perform well.''
Branch did not attend any of the Bills' voluntary spring practices, and then reported to training camp out of shape by failing his conditioning test. Once cleared for practice, Branch spent much of the preseason working with the third-stringers.
The last straw came early Saturday, when Branch was arrested after a state trooper noticed him vomiting out the driver's side door of his vehicle in suburban Buffalo. Police say Branch failed a field sobriety test and had a blood-alcohol content of .14 percent. The legal limit is .08 percent.
Later in the day, Branch did not join the Bills for their home game against Tampa Bay.
Marrone referred to what happened as ''poor decision'' on Branch's part.
''We wished him well, and hopefully it changes for him,'' Marrone said. ''But at the end of the day, decisions for players not to be here are based on not being able to help us win.''
Branch has not spoken publicly since being arrested, and is due back in court Friday. Messages left with his agent, Blake Baratz, have not been returned.
The Bills signed Branch to a three-year contract extension in December after he had a career-best 39 tackles in 16 games.
On Monday, the Bills cut 11 players, including fourth-string quarterback Dennis Dixon, to trim their roster to 75 players a day before the NFL's deadline.
Dixon finished last season on the practice squad and never threatened during training camp to contend for a backup job ahead of Jeff Tuel and Thad Lewis.
Also released were running back Ronnie Wingo, safeties Derek Brim and Jajuan Harley, receivers Tori Gurley and Chris Summers, offensive linemen Macky MacPherson and J.J. Unga, and defensive tackle Damien Jacobs.
Veteran kicker Dan Carpenter and punter Brian Moorman secured their jobs after second-year kicker Dustin Hopkins and rookie punter Jake Dombrowski were released.
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