Defensive tackle Eli Ankou appears headed back to One Bills Drive following his release from the practice squad of the Atlanta Falcons. Ankou has spent parts of multiple seasons with the Buffalo Bills dating back to the 2021 NFL season. Once again, Ankou’s path the team will have him sign to Buffalo’s practice squad.
ESPN Bills reporter Alaina Getzenberg was the first to share the news that Eli Ankou had been released:
Well worth noting that the Falcons have waived former Bills practice squad player DT Eli Ankou. https://t.co/Tf6NskC3NE— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) October 24, 2023
Having originally signed to the team’s practice squad during both of his prior stints, Ankou does have game experience with the Bills. He appeared in six games during the 2021 season (9 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit, 1 sack) under defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier.
After the 2022 season and having spent the year on Buffalo’s practice squad, Ankou signed a reserve/futures contract to remain with the Bills.
In 2023, Ankou again found himself the odd man out when it came time to finalized the team’s initial 53-man roster. But Ankou soon returned to One Bills Drive as a member of the practice squad. By early October, the Falcons came calling, and scooped Ankou off Buffalo’s practice squad. With Atlanta and Ankou parting ways, the door opened for him to come back to Western New York.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming— Eli Ankou (@eliankou) October 24, 2023
The Bills are now very thin at defensive tackle with injuries to both DaQuan Jones (Injured Reserve; surgery to repair torn pectoral) and Ed Oliver (toe) – two starters who have been key to the early success of Buffalo’s defense. In Week 7, the team’s active reserves (Jordan Phillips, Poona Ford, and Tim Settle Jr.) showed some struggles against the New England Patriots, and now Phillips is on the team’s injury report with a back problem. With all that considered, it’s clear to see what may have factored into the Bills bringing back Ankou, who they’ve shown to value under head coach Sean McDermott.
Don’t discount the idea that Eli Ankou could make his way to Buffalo’s active roster ahead of the Week 8 Thursday Night Football showdown against Tampa Bay at Highmark Stadium.