After fighting his way through a series of injuries, Marquez Stevenson is back with the Buffalo Bills in a new role.
The Bills announced on Friday that the 2021 draft pick had been signed to the practice squad, two days after he had been placed on waivers. Stevenson started the season on the injured reserve, and was released when his 21-day practice window came to a close on December 7.
In making room for Stevenson, the Bills parted ways with a former Chicago Bears wide receiver who had been added to the practice squad earlier in the season.
Bills Bring Back Stevenson
NFL insider Tom Pelissero reported earlier in the week that the Bills had plans to sneak Stevenson back onto the practice squad when he was initially released.
“The #Bills are activating WR Marquez Stevenson from injured reserve and then releasing him today, per source,” Pelissero reported on Twitter. “It’s a procedural move that allows Buffalo to re-sign Stevenson to the practice squad, if he clears waivers. He contributed in the return game as a rookie in 2021.”
Stevenson has had a bumpy tenure with the Bills, missing more than half of his rookie season after being placed on injured reserve to start the year. He contributed mostly on special teams, returning punts and kicks, but was benched after losing two fumbles. With the Bills facing inclement weather in many of their games down the final stretch, head coach Sean McDermott inserted the more sure-handed Micah Hyde to return punts.
The Bills have suffered some injuries to their wide receiving corps, with Jamison Crowder and Jake Kumerow both being placed on injured reserve with ankle injuries. They added some depth by brining back former No. 1 wide receiver John Brown, who was signed to the practice squad and activated for last Thursday’s win over the New England Patriots.
If he finds his way back to the active roster this season, Stevenson could have a chance to compete for the kick returner spot. The Bills have rotated returners, with newly acquired Nyheim Hines currently holding the spot.
Bills Say Goodbye to Former Bears Receiver
To make room for Stevenson, the Bills released a player who had a minor role in one of the biggest trade-deadline moves this year. When the Chicago Bears traded for wide receiver Chase Claypool, they released receiver Isaiah Coulter, who then joined the Bills’ practice squad.
Coulter was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2020 and appeared in one game during his rookie season. He joined the Bears the next season and appeared in three games, but had just one target and no catches.
Along with the new additions, the Bills suffered some losses to their wide receiving corps. Former 2020 draft pick Isaiah Hodgins, who had his first NFL catches for the Bills earlier this season, was claimed by the New York Giants when the Bills placed him on waivers in November.
Hodgins likely would have returned to Buffalo’s practice squad had he cleared waivers, but has instead moved into a more significant role with the Giants. He caught his first NFL touchdown in the team’s December 4 tie against the Washington Commanders.