Bills Cut Veteran LB Hours After His Post Celebrating End of Suspension

Andre Smith

Getty Andre Smith reacts to a play in a Buffalo Bills game.

Buffalo Bills linebacker Andre Smith took to Twitter on Monday to celebrate the end of his six-game suspension. Within hours, he was out of a job.

The veteran linebacker had been suspended six games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Monday marked the official end of his suspension, and the Bills needed to either add him to the 53-man roster — which would mean releasing another player — or release Smith.

The Bills chose to cut ties with Smith, though a reunion could still be in his future.

Bills Release Smith

Smith seemed eager to return to football after his six-game hiatus. He posted a montage of clips on Twitter that showed off some highlights from his time with the Bills, adding a picture of rapper Kodak Black walking out of jail.

After the Bills announced that Smith had been released, he went back to Twitter to offer a goodbye message to the team.

“Every dawg has its day. It’s been real — Free Nine,” Smith wrote, adding a peace sign emoji.

As the Buffalo News noted, Smith had failed a drug test in November, but could not offer an explanation as to why it happened.

“He said he has no idea why or what caused his estrogen level to rise beyond the allowed limits,” the report noted. “His appeal under the terms of the drug policy with the NFL and the NFL Players Association fell on deaf ears.”

Though Smith is listed at linebacker, the 25-year-old had played mostly on special teams for the Bills through his two seasons with the team. He had 10 tackles last season and nine in 2020, playing more than 60 percent of special teams snaps in all four of his seasons in the NFL.

Smith was involved in some memorable plays during his two years with the team. One of them came in the 2021 preseason, when he laid a hit on Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields that sent the rookie signal-caller’s helmet flying.

Smith was involved in a more controversial play later that season. Bills kick returner Isaiah McKenzie took a kickoff for a go-ahead touchdown with three minutes remaining in a game against the Tennessee Titans, but Smith was called for a holding penalty that negated it. The Titans ended up holding onto the lead, defeating the Bills 34-31.

Bills Still Have Options for Smith

As the Buffalo News noted, the Bills could still sign Smith to their practice squad. If he does eventually make his way back to the active roster, it would likely be in a special teams role as the Bills have been deep at linebacker. Both Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds have been having Pro-Bowl caliber seasons, and All-Pro Von Miller is officially listed at linebacker though effectively plays defensive end.

But the Bills could use some help with their coverage units, as special teams ace Jake Kumerow has missed several weeks with an ankle injury. And they have shown that they value Smith, trading a conditional draft pick to land him from the Carolina Panthers and re-signing him after the 2020 season. Smith was also a standout in special teams this season, as he was allowed to play leading up to the start of the season.

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