Bills sign Stevenson Sylvester; two starters to begin camp sidelined

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills will be a bit shorthanded when training camp begins this weekend, prompting the signing of free agent linebacker Stevenson Sylvester.

The Buffalo Bills on Wednesday announced the signing of free agent linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers. To make room for Sylvester on the 90-man roster, tight end Mike Caussin was released.

Sylvester, a fifth-round pick out of Utah in 2010, spent four seasons as a reserve and special teams player with the Steelers over the past four years. The 6'2", 231-pound athlete has solid athleticism for the outside linebacker position in a 4-3 system, but as a late addition to the pre-camp roster, he'll need to make a strong impression on special teams to crack the 53-man roster.

Buffalo needed another body at linebacker following the injury to Kiko Alonso, and with rookie Randell Johnson looking like he'll be unavailable at the start of training camp this weekend. Caussin, who has been with the Bills - largely on injured lists - since 2010, was an extreme longshot to make the roster thanks to four quality prospects in front of him on the depth chart.

Five veteran players were also added to camp roster lists. Alonso, injured during a workout in Oregon earlier this month, is on the Active/Non-Football Injury list. Johnson, the seventh-round pick out of Florida Atlantic, joins starting cornerback Leodis McKelvin on Active/Physically Unable to Perform. (McKelvin missed spring practices recovering from surgery.) Cordy Glenn and Alan Branch will start camp on Active/Non-Football Illness, for reasons that were not disclosed by the team.

All five of those players still count against the Bills' 90-man roster, and all of them can be removed from those lists at any time. We should know more as the weekend approaches regarding any sort of timeline for each to make his 2014 practice debut. Alonso, of course, is unlikely to play this season. Hopefully, Glenn, Branch, Johnson, and McKelvin will have short-lived stays on the sidelines.

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