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Bills releasing LB Manny Lawson

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The veteran LB was expected to be a starter until first-round pick Shaq Lawson was ready to return.

In a surprise move, the Buffalo Bills have released veteran linebacker Manny Lawson.

Lawson, 32, was about to enter his fourth season with the Bills. In his previous three, he played in 47 of a possible 48 games and started 29, including 14 last season. He was never incredibly productive but seemed to fit in well with the Rex Ryan defense, first under Mike Pettine in 2013 and then under Ryan himself last season.

Lawson is under investigation by the NFL for a possible one-game suspension, one that may or may not involve a 2014 incident of domestic violence. It’s very possible the Bills know something we don’t about a possible Lawson suspension, but given the apparent limited length of it could mean that the release is performance-based.

First-round pick Shaq Lawson was placed on the PUP list, meaning he won’t be available until Week 7 at the earliest. Manny was expected to fill his shoes, but now it’s likely that the team will turn to veteran Lorenzo Alexander, who performed well in the preseason as a starter, to keep Shaq’s spot warm. The release also bodes well for UDFA Bryson Albright, a similar player who has shined throughout the last month.

Lawson ends his Bills career with 138 tackles (103 solo), 6.5 sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery. It’s possible he could latch on somewhere else, but considering his age and the looming suspension it’s entirely possible that this is the end of the road for the 10-year vet and former first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers.