Agent: Buffalo Bills release cornerback Leodis McKelvin
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Veteran cornerback Leodis McKelvin became the Buffalo Bills' latest salary cap-cutting casualty.
The move announced by the team Friday did not come as a surprise. General manager Doug Whaley said last week he was seeking to restructure McKelvin's contract to free up payroll before the NFL's free-agency period, which opens Wednesday.
Buffalo's 2008 first-round draft pick was entering the final year of his contract and due to make a $3.1 million base salary. It was deemed too expensive for a player filling a backup role behind starters Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby.
McKelvin posted a note on his Instagram account calling it an honor to have played for the Bills. The note was accompanied by a picture of late Bills Hall of Fame owner, Ralph Wilson, presenting McKelvin his jersey shortly after he was drafted.
''I look forward to the next chapter of my football story,'' McKelvin wrote. ''Buffalo will always be a place I'll call home.''
McKelvin's release comes a few days after the Bills cut high-priced defensive end Mario Williams as well as veteran offensive lineman Kraig Urbik and running back Boobie Dixon. On Thursday, Buffalo freed up additional payroll by restructuring the final two years of defensive back Corey Graham's contract.
The Bills need to free up space to address various needs in free agency, as well as afford to re-sign their own pending free agents. They took a big step in that direction when starting left tackle Cordy Glenn signed his franchise-tag tender Friday for one-year at $13.7 million.
McKelvin, who doubled as a return specialist, had an up-and-down career in Buffalo that featured some dazzling highlights and a few prime-time bobbles.
He had 13 interceptions in 98 career games, including 60 starts. He also scored five touchdowns, including three on punt returns. As a rookie, McKelvin set the franchise single-season record with 1,468 kickoff-return yards.
McKelvin also had a few lowlights.
In Buffalo's 2009 season-opener at New England on a Monday night, McKelvin fumbled a kickoff return which contributed to the Patriots overcoming an 11-point deficit in the final 2:06 of a 25-24 victory.
What made it worse, McKelvin returned home the next morning to discover someone had spray-painted in white the score and an image of a male body part on his front lawn. Two teens were arrested, but avoided criminal charges after McKelvin told investigators he did not want the boys to be prosecuted.
He fumbled a punt in a 20-13 loss at New England in another Monday night game last season.
Injuries hampered McKelvin's career. He missed 13 games in 2009 because of a broken leg. A broken right foot forced McKelvin to miss a combined 13 games spanning the past two seasons.
He had two interceptions in nine games last season.
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