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Buffalo Bills 2000s All-Decade Team: Middle Linebacker

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills middle linebacker position has been filled with talent this decade, but has also been one of the most injury-prone positions on the team. The Bills did employ a Pro Bowl linebacker on the inside during the 2000s, as well as a well-respected free agent signing and a highly touted draft pick. Let's examine the candidates.

Sam Cowart
Cowart made a Pro Bowl in 2000 despite only playing 12 games at ILB for the Bills. A severe ankle injury sidelined him for the rest of the season, and he suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in Week 1 of 2001. Cowart was never quite the same after those injuries, and that game was his last in a Bills uniform. He had 5.5 sacks, two interceptions, one forced fumble and two recovered fumbles to go along with his 88 tackles in 2000.

London Fletcher
The Bills signed Fletcher as a free agent in 2002 when he left the St. Louis Rams. All he did was start every game for his five years in Buffalo and lead the team in tackles each year. Fletcher recorded 14.5 sacks, five interceptions and a touchdown return, seven fumble recoveries and a touchdown return, five forced fumbles, 28 passes defended, 495 tackles and a safety. Every number is tops for the MLBs in the decade and how he never earned a Pro Bowl nomination in Buffalo is beyond me. His 495 tackles as a Bill rank seventh on the all-time list, and are almost 100 more than the next best in the decade, Terrence McGee. He was allowed to leave following his fifth season at the age of 32, but has continued his high level of play in Washington.

Paul Posluszny
The Bills had to trade up to select Poz in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft to replace Fletcher. A broken arm kept him off the field for all but three games in his rookie year, and he missed four games in his third season after breaking the same arm. He has started 31 games for the Bills in his three seasons with the team, amassing 191 tackles, four interceptions, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and one sack along with 10 passes defended. Despite playing in four fewer games in 2009, Posluszny recorded 87 tackles in each season, and would have likely passed the 100 tackle mark had he not missed those four games.

Leave your voting rationale in the comments section. The secondary begins next with the cornerbacks.

Previous Installments: QB, RB 1, RB 2, WR 1, WR 2, TE, OT 1, OT 2, OG 1, OG 2, OC, P/K, DT 1, DT 2, DE 1, DE 2, OLB 1, OLB 2