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Buffalo releases starter Ryan Fitzpatrick

Bills part ways with the quarterback after both sides were unable to reach an agreement on a restructured contract.

March 12, 2013|Staff and wire reports
  • The Buffalo Bills released quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on Tuesday after a lackluster 6-10 season.
The Buffalo Bills released quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on Tuesday after… (Joel Auerbach / Getty Images )

Having already changed coaches this off-season, the Buffalo Bills are starting from scratch at quarterback too.

In their first move once the NFL's free-agency period opened Tuesday, the Bills released quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick after two-plus inconsistent seasons as starter. The decision came after Fitzpatrick and the team were unable to reach an agreement to restructure the quarterback's contract, and a day before the he was due a $3-million bonus.

Fitzpatrick's up-and-down performance and his expensive contract were factors in his release. He was 20-33 as a starter over four seasons in Buffalo. And he was in the midst of a six-year, $59-million contract extension signed in October 2011.

Receiver Mike Wallace was the Miami Dolphins' No. 1 off-season target, and they moved quickly to secure a deal.

Wallace agreed to a multiyear contract on the first day of NFL free agency, a person with knowledge of the agreement said. The person confirmed the deal to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no signing had been announced Tuesday night.

In four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wallace caught 32 touchdown passes. He gives the Dolphins the speedy deep threat they lacked last season, when their wideouts totaled three touchdowns.

Miami also reached a $35-million, five-year deal with inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who helped the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl last season.

The Oakland Raiders cut ties with two former first-round picks by releasing starting receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and defensive back Michael Huff.

The Raiders also cut defensive end Dave Tollefson and re-signed cornerback Phillip Adams to a one-year deal before the start of the league year.

The moves to get rid of Heyward-Bey and Huff leave only three of Oakland's former first-round picks on the roster, with linebacker Rolando McClain also expected to be released.

The Philadelphia Eagles released former All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, only two years after he was the NFL's most sought-after free agent.

Asomugha was due to make $15 million this season, including $4 million guaranteed, after signing a five-year, $60-million deal with the Eagles in 2011.

The Steelers re-signed linebacker Larry Foote, wide receiver Plaxico Burress and tight end David Johnson.

Foote, 32, agreed to a three-year deal, and the 35-year-old Burress will stick around for 2013. Foote and Burress join offensive lineman Ramon Foster as potential free agents who opted to remain in Pittsburgh rather than test the open market. Foster agreed to a three-year deal Monday.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Paul Kruger, the Ravens' sacks leader last season, agreed to terms on a five-year, $40-million contract with the Cleveland Browns, who with their first move in free agency added a proven pass rusher and weakened the defending NFL champions.

The Ravens signed free-agent defensive end Chris Canty, who spent the previous four seasons with the New York Giants.

Tony Gonzalez, who has more catches than any tight end in NFL history, announced that he is returning to the Atlanta Falcons for the 2013 season.

Gonzalez, 37, had said during the season that he was 95% sure he would retire after the 2012 season.


X Games to drop two competitions

After the death of Caleb Moore, the X Games will eliminate the snowmobile and Moto X best trick competitions from future events.

The safety of snowmobiles came under scrutiny in January after the death of Moore from injuries he sustained when his 450-pound sled rolled over him after a back flip gone wrong during the snowmobile freestyle competition. It was the first death in the 18-year history of the X Games.

The X Games still plans to hold other snowmobile events at Winter X, along with motorcycle competitions at Summer X.

ESPN, which televises the X Games, announced the cancellations in a statement Tuesday.

"This change reflects our decision to focus on motor sports disciplines which feature athletes who also compete in multiple, world-class competitions (e.g., professional events and tours) reflecting the highest degree of athlete participation, competitive development and the global nature of our X Games franchise."


Troy Thomas, who guided Anaheim Servite to seven Trinity League championships and two Pac-5 Division championships in eight years as football coach, has decided to return to his alma mater, Encino Crespi. He was Crespi's head coach from 2001 to 2004.

—Eric Sondheimer


Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference starting next season in all sports other than football and ice hockey, a year earlier than expected, following the split among the Big East's football schools and seven Catholic schools that are forming a basketball-focused conference.


American midfielder Carli Lloyd will be sidelined six to eight weeks after breaking a bone in her left shoulder during the Algarve Cup.

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