The Buffalo Bills announced the release of veteran kicker Rian Lindell on Monday morning in a move that has been anticipated since the team drafted Dustin Hopkins in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Lindell, 36, had been Buffalo's placekicker for a decade. The former 2003 free agent signing connected on 225 out of 270 field goal tries in his 10 years with the Bills, as well as 305 out of 306 extra point tries. He leaves Buffalo second on the franchise's all-time scoring list, where his 980 points trail only the 1,011 of Steve Christie.
Hopkins, who will be 23 on October 1, has performed more consistently as training camp has progressed. He is 4-for-4 on field goal tries thus far in preseason action, and aside from one kickoff that went out of bounds has otherwise been excellent. His superior leg strength was the main difference in the competition - Lindell's leg strength had deteriorated rapidly over the last couple of seasons - but Lindell's $2.1 million base salary played its role, as well.
With the kicking and punting competitions now settled, the Bills enter the 2013 season with three Florida State alumni holding down their specialist positions: Hopkins, punter Shawn Powell and long snapper Garrison Sanborn are all former Seminoles.
Buffalo's roster now stands at 80 active players. They need to be at the league-mandated maximum of 75 by 4PM ET on August 27.