Bills Lose Breakout Rookie RB to Carolina Panthers: Report

Raheem Blackshear

Getty Raheem Blackshear #35 of the Buffalo Bills runs against the Carolina Panthers during a preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on August 26, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

During the Buffalo Bills preseason, Raheem Blackshear, an undrafted rookie out of Virginia Tech, flashed star potential. The running back had 11 carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns along with six catches for 81 yards through the first two preseason games and continued to impress in Week 3.

Buffalo lost 21-0 to the Carolina Panthers during their final preseason game, but Blackshear led the team with 47 yards rushing on 13 carries. While he didn’t make the 53-man roster, which speaks to the amount of depth in Buffalo this season, the Bills were able to secure Blackshear to the practice squad. However, the Bills weren’t able to hold onto Blackshear for long.

Pro Football Network‘s Aaron Wilson broke the news on Wednesday, September 21 that Blackshear was heading to the NFC South to sign with the Panthers, a team that was able to asses his talent level first-hand back in August. He’ll be on their active roster, per CBS Sports.

Per AP reporter Stever Reed, Carolina’s head coach Matt Rhule said of the new addition, “Blackshear was a young player the team wanted to take a look at… He comes in as the No. 4 RB for Carolina.”

The Bills’ practice squad has already made several changes since the start of the 2022 NFL Season. Last week, Buffalo released quarterback Josh Allen’s best friend and former college teammate, wide receiver Tanner Gentry, in order to sign defensive tackle Prince Emili.

In addition to Emili, the Bills’ practice squad includes backup quarterback Matt Barkley, former Vikings tight end Zach Davidson, offensive tackle Van Demark, cornerback Kyler McMichael offensive lineman Greg Mancz, offensive lineman Alec Anderson, running back Duke Johnson, wide receiver Tavon Austin, wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins, defensive end Mike Love, defensive tackle, Brandin Bryant, Defensive tackle C.J. Brewer, linebacker Joe Giles-Harris, and defensive back Ja’Marcus Ingram.

Bills Fans Were Not Happy to See Blackshear Leave

Blackshear’s preseason performance quickly made him a fan favorite in Buffalo, and Bills Mafia was sad to see him go. “That sucks, good for him tho,” one man tweeted, while another person wrote, “Blackshear >>>>>>> Moss.”

The running back seemed thrilled to be in Buffalo. After he signed his contract, Blackshear shared photos on Instagram to celebrate the moment and wrote, “Extremely Blessed 🙏🏾 #billsmafia.”

Before entering the NFL, Blackshear spent the first three years of his collegiate career at Rutgers before transferring to Virginia Tech.

Between 2017 and 2021, Blackshear tallied 1,912 yards and 14 touchdowns with 410 carries. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound back also caught 123 receptions for 1,213 and event touchdowns.

The Bills May Need Several Practice Squad Members to Step Up in Week 3

While the Bills (2-2) now have space to add another player to their practice squad, their main focus will be preparing for the team’s upcoming matchup against AFC East rival, the Miami Dolphins (2-2). And according to the Bills injury report released on Wednesday, the team may need several members from the practice squad to step up.

Both Ed Oliver (ankle) and Tim Settle (calf) were inactive for the Bills game against the Titans on Monday Night Football, and Bryant and Brewer were elevated from the practice squad to fill the void. On Wednesday, both Oliver and Settle were limited in practice.

Unfortunately, numerous key starters got injured during the Bills’ 41-7 win over the Titans including cornerback Dane Jackson (neck injury), linebacker Matt Milano (stinger), defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (hamstring), center Mitch Morse (right elbow), and safety Micah Hyde (neck injury).

While Milano was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, Hyde, Jackson, Phillips, and tight end Dawson Knox (right foot) did not play. Wide receiver Gabe Davis, who suffered a non-contact injury in practice and was inactive for Monday Night Football, was listed as limited, as was Morse.

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