Bills Part Ways With Once-Promising OL After Injury Setbacks

Tommy Doyle

Getty Tommy Doyle looks on before a Buffalo Bills game.

The Buffalo Bills are saying goodbye to offensive lineman Tommy Doyle after injuries derailed a career that started with plenty of promise.

The team announced on June 4 that they signed undrafted rookie linebacker Shayne Simon and designated Doyle as waived/injured. The 26-year-old lineman suffered a pair of season-ending injuries, including a knee injury last August that ended his season before it started.

Tommy Doyle’s Fast Start Fizzled Among Injuries

The Bills drafted Doyle in the fifth round in 2021 and he appeared in 11 games his rookie season, catching a touchdown pass in the team’s 47-17 win over the New England Patriots in the playoffs. Doyle’s second season came to an early end after he suffered a torn ACL in a September 2022 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott later told reporters that Doyle actually returned to finish the game before realizing the severity of the injury.

“We get done with the game and you know, I knew that he had had a knee injury or a leg injury,” head coach Sean McDermott said at the time. “I go back on the plane on the way home just to check on the guys and I said ‘Tommy, how you doing?’ he’s like, ‘Ah, I’m fine, it’s nothing.’ And then next morning, I get the communication from our training staff that has a torn ACL and he’s out for the season.”

After spending the remainder of that season going through rehab, Doyle was able to return for the team’s training camp last year but went down in a preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. McDermott told reporters later that he had suffered another season-ending injury.

Despite parting ways with veteran center Mitch Morse, the Bills have added some depth to their offensive line this offseason. They used a sixth-round draft pick on UCF offensive tackle Tylan Grable and signed veterans Will Clapp and La’el Collins.

The team also made a more long-term investment in Travis Clayton, a British boxing and rugby standout who came to the team through the league’s International Player Pathway Program. The Bills used a seventh-round pick on Clayton, who said he was looking forward to learning the ropes as an offensive lineman.

“With football, I love the physical side of things,” Clayton said after being drafted, via the team’s official website. “Being on the offensive line, being able to take your anger out on people legally, it’s great. It’s great. I can just use my strength to my abilities.”

Bills Add Depth at Linebacker

In releasing Doyle, the Bills cleared way for Simon to join the roster following a minicamp tryout. As Kyle Silagyi of noted, Simon was once a highly sought-after recruit but also dealt with injuries during his college career.

“A four-star recruit out of high school, Simon initially committed to Notre Dame, notching 26 tackles and five pass deflections throughout his time with the team,” Silagyi wrote. “He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the first game of the Fighting Irish’s 2021 season, transferring to Pittsburgh ahead of the 2022 campaign. He was an impactful linebacker for the Panthers, tallying 94 tackles, eight pass deflections, and seven sacks in two seasons.”

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