Agent: Bills release RB Rhodes

Updated: September 6, 2009, 8:16 AM ET
By Tim Graham | ESPN.com

One day after the Buffalo Bills fired offensive coordinator Turk Schonert, they followed up with another surprising move.

The Bills released running back Dominic Rhodes, one of their biggest offseason acquisitions.

Rhodes' agent, Todd France, confirmed his client had been released in a text message to The Associated Press.

The move is surprising because the Bills were expected to rely on Rhodes' running and receiving skills while usual starter Marshawn Lynch served a three-game suspension to start the season.

Fred Jackson was the only other back on the roster with significant NFL experience.

Rhodes started Thursday night's preseason finale. He finished the preseason with 19 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown. He fumbled twice and lost one.

Aside from Rhodes, the only other notable player released was veteran offensive lineman Kirk Chambers, who had been a versatile backup capable of filling in at tackle and guard.

As expected, second-year receiver James Hardy was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list after spending the entire preseason on PUP after having knee surgery in December. Under NFL rules, the second-round pick out of Indiana will have an opportunity to start practicing after Week 6 to determine whether he will be activated.

The Bills' offense is in flux with quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt taking over play-calling duties following Schonert's dismissal. Buffalo finished the preseason with a 1-4 record and its first-team offense was held to scoring 3 points in 15 series.

Among the notables who made the team are undrafted rookie free agent linebacker Ashlee Palmer. The Bills also kept 11 defensive backs, including veteran Drayton Florence, who missed the past three weeks with a knee injury.

Of the Bills' eight rookie draft picks, a sixth-round selection, defensive back Cary Harris, was the only one not to make the team.

Linebacker Alvin Bowen, a 2008 fifth-round draft pick, was also released following a failed bid to win a roster spot after missing all of last season with a knee injury.

The Bills also released defensive linemen Copeland Bryan, Ataefiok Etukeren, Derrick Jones and Corey Mace; receivers C.J. Hawthorne and Felton Huggins; tight ends Tyson DeVree and Jonathan Stupar; offensive linemen Christian Gaddis and Nick Hennessey; fourth-string quarterback Matt Baker; running back Bruce Hall; and linebacker Ryan Manalac.

Offensive lineman Brandon Rodd was waived/injured, while linebacker John DiGiorgio has been waived/failed physical.

The Bills already made one move on Friday, trading safety Ko Simpson to the Lions.

Tim Graham covers the AFC East for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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