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Bills bring back WR John Brown on practice squad

The addition was part of a series of roster moves made on Saturday to bolster the back end of Buffalo’s ailing depth chart

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills made a series of roster moves on Saturday to bolster the back end of their 53-man roster, and added a familiar name to its practice squad.

We’ll start with the team adding veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes to the 53-man roster after he appeared in two games from the practice squad. Rookie cornerback Christian Benford was placed on Injured Reserve to make room for Rhodes on the roster; Benford suffered an oblique injury in Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day win over the Detroit Lions, and head coach Sean McDermott said he was week-to-week during a Friday media appearance. Benford will now miss at least four games, and Rhodes is who the team has tapped to replace him on the roster.

Buffalo also added two players to its practice squad: wide receiver John Brown and defensive tackle C.J. Brewer.

This is, indeed, the same John Brown that the Bills signed as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2019 season, and who quickly became a favorite of quarterback Josh Allen during his two seasons with the team. In those two years, the second of which was derailed by a series of injuries, Brown hauled in 105 receptions (on 167 targets) for 1,518 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 24 total games. He was released prior to the 2021 season, and spent last season bouncing between the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brown’s addition gives the Bills a veteran presence with system and quarterback familiarity who they can call up to play in a pinch. That’s something the team lacked, with only four healthy receivers on the active roster; they had called up Tanner Gentry from the practice squad for the past two games, but he did not see many reps offensively.

Brewer, an undrafted rookie free agent who made the team’s practice squad out of training camp, appeared in the Bills’ Week 2 win over the Tennessee Titans as a call-up, but was then bumped in favor of more veteran depth as the Bills weathered some early season injuries to their interior linemen. He’s now back on the practice squad, though will likely remain there as the Bills are once again fully healthy inside.