Buffalo Bills linebacker IK Enemkpali warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
Bill Wippert
September 04, 2015

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Bills starting cornerback Leodis McKelvin will miss the start of the season because of a right ankle injury.

Linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali failed to make the cut in a second chance in Buffalo after breaking the New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith's jaw with a punch. And veteran kicker Dan Carpenter is worried about his future following his latest missed field goal.

''If you have a kicker that goes three for six in the preseason, you should be concerned as a coach,'' Carpenter said Friday, referring to concerns raised by Rex Ryan. ''Obviously, I need to do better. I know that. He knows that. Everyone else in this building knows that. And everyone else in this building expects me to do better.''

Carpenter still has a job despite missing three field-goal attempts as well as an extra-point try from the newly-instituted distance of 33 yards. The latest miss came in a 17-10 loss at Detroit on Thursday night, when his 40-yard attempt hit off the right upright.

He spoke following practice and after Bills cut 16 players and made two other moves to trim their roster to 57. That leaves Buffalo needing to free up three more roster spots by Saturday, when NFL teams are required to establish their 53-player lineup.

Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus won't immediately count against the roster because he will miss the opener against Indianapolis on Sept. 13 to serve a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

McKelvin was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list, meaning he will miss at least the first six weeks of the season. He missed all of training camp after having a follow-up operation in July to repair the ankle he broke in a game in November.

His absence means the Bills will open the season with rookie second-round pick Ronald Darby filling in as the starter.

Enemkpali was claimed off waivers on Aug. 13, a day after he was cut by the Jets for punching Smith during a locker room altercation. He had extensive time appearing in three preseason games with Buffalo.

One concern the Bills had was Enemkpali's status was already uncertain because the NFL could still discipline him for punching Smith.

Among the other notable players cut was fourth-string quarterback Matt Simms, and veteran offseason free-agent additions: defensive tackle Andre Fluellen, fullback John Conner and sixth-year linebacker Quentin Groves.

Simms' release leaves Buffalo with three quarterbacks: starter Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel and veteran journeyman Matt Cassel.

Speaking for the first time since Taylor was named the starter Monday, Cassel was disappointed but supportive of the decision.

''You'd love to be out there and you want to be the guy if you had the opportunity,'' Cassel said, noting the Bills have informed him they intend to keep all three quarterbacks. ''But at the same time, Tyrod's going to get his opportunity and I'm really happy for him.''

Carpenter's struggles have become a concern for Ryan, who hasn't ruled out signing another kicker.

''To say that I'm just going to turn a blind eye to the fact that we missed four kicks, that's not me,'' Ryan said. ''If there's somebody that we feel can help our team regardless of the position, then we'll certainly look at it.''

The seventh-year player's inconsistency comes after he missed most of the offseason, including the first two weeks of training camp, nursing a sore hamstring.

Last season, Carpenter set a franchise record by hitting 34 field goals. He missed just four attempts, three from 47 yards or longer. In two seasons with Buffalo, he's hit a combined 65 of 72 attempts.

The Bills also cut offensive lineman Cyril Richardson, a fifth-round pick in last year's draft, and receiver Dezmin Lewis, a rookie seventh-round pick.

Rounding out the cuts were receivers Andre Davis and Tobais Palmer, running backs Bronson Hill and Cierre Wood, offensive linemen Will Campbell, Darryl Johnson and Alex Kupper, defensive end BJ Larsen and cornerback Merrill Noel.

Buffalo also placed receiver Deonte Thompson on the waived/injured list.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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