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Buffalo Bills sign QB Shane Buechele, LB Christian Kirksey to practice squad

The Bills land their emergency QB3 and add much-needed help to the linebacker room with a nine-year NFL veteran

Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills continue fine-tuning their practice squad ahead of their Week 1 clash with the New York Jets to kick off Monday Night Football. With two spots available on the PS, One Bills Drive signed both quarterback Shane Buechele and linebacker Christian Kirksey.

Buechele comes to Orchard Park, NY to operate as the team’s QB3, a role he played with the Kansas City Chiefs. After a successful 2023 NFL preseason, Buechele still wasn’t able to beat out quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and was ultimately released by the Chiefs. Time will tell if what Buechele learned from head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes serves him well with the Bills.

Buechele’s college resume reads well, with time spent at two institutions: The University of Texas and Southern Methodist University (commonly known as SMU).

In five collegiate seasons at two different stops, Shane Buechele went 952-of-1508 (63.1%) for 11,660 yards (7.7 y/a) with 87 TDs, and 32 INTs.

(All stats provided by Sports Reference)

Buechele earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Chiefs.

Buffalo had likely intended to march into the regular season with quarterback Matt Barkley, but a hand injury he suffered during the preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers eventually led to the team putting him on season-ending Injured Reserve (IR). Barkley could still return to the team this season, provided his hand injury allows for a recovery timetable that matches with the league year. But that’s not the only stipulation: The Bills would need to release Barkley with an injury settlement before being able to re-sign him.

Late on Wednesday, the news became official that free-agent linebacker Christian Kirksey was signing to the Bills’ practice squad. While the signing appeared imminent, general manager Brandon Beane reportedly stated that Kirksey was going through a team physical to see how he was progressing from a hamstring injury suffered early this summer. That injury caused him to miss the entirety of training camp and preseason action with the Houston Texans. As a result, Kirksey became expandable, even though the 6’2”, 235-pound linebacker had been a productive starting linebacker with the Texans — playing both inside and outside for the team. He made 29 starts in two seasons with Houston.

Kirksey signing with Buffalo isn’t the first time he’s made the trek to One Bills Drive, having previously made a visit in 2020 during a tryout with the team. Originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2014, Kirksey (31 years old) has a connection with Jordan Poyer, who also began his career with the Browns. Kirksey has played nine seasons in the NFL, and his arrival in Buffalo will mark the fourth team he’s played for in that time. His stats reflect a solid, dependable linebacker who should improve the Bills’ linebacker room.

While Kirksey begins his tenure with Buffalo on the practice squad, he has a fantastic chance to end up on the team’s 53-man active roster and earn the starting MIKE linebacker role.