ORCHARD PARK, NY –( By: Chris Brown, Lead Journalist buffalobills.com) The Bills will be without three players for Sunday’s game against the Steelers. DL Spencer Johnson, LB Shawne Merriman and RG Eric Wood were all declared out by head coach Chan Gailey after Friday’s practice.
Wood sustained an undisclosed left leg injury in last week’s game against Cincinnati when he was rolled up from behind on a run play. He did not practice at all this week. He’ll be replaced in the lineup by Kraig Urbik, who stepped in for him in last week’s game.
For Urbik his first start for the Bills will come against the team that drafted him in the Pittsburgh Steelers, though the guard doesn’t see himself getting any more motivated to play his former team.
“The juices are always going to be flowing no matter who you’re playing,” said Urbik. “I spent two camps with those guys. I went against their defensive linemen every day for two years, so I know their moves and what to expect from them watching film.”
Johnson is still dealing with a hamstring injury that he sustained in the Bills Week 10 win over Detroit. He was replaced in the defensive line rotation by third-round pick Alex Carrington, which is expected to happen again on Sunday.
Merriman was not expected to play this week as Gailey indicated on Monday that he was not anticipating the veteran linebacker to be ready to return from a strained Achilles.
RB C.J. Spiller practiced on Thursday and Friday on a limited basis and is expected to be a game time decision. Gailey listed the Bills top pick as questionable.
“I’ve just got to see that my hamstring is fully strengthened and that I’m full speed and I can make the normal cuts,” said Spiller. “I can’t be timid. In the back of your mind you’re going to be thinking if I hit an extra gear what will happen. The main thing is just seeing if I can go full speed without second guessing if I have to put that extra gear in.”
Provided Spiller can do that in warm-ups Sunday he’ll be active for the game, but Gailey has said all along that they’re going to err on the side of caution.
The Buffalo Bills announced that the team has promoted WR Naaman Roosevelt and LB Thomas Williams to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.
Roosevelt has spent the first 11 weeks of the season on the team’s practice squad after joining the Bills as an undrafted free agent in April The 6-0, 189-pound Buffalo native started 41-of-49 games at Buffalo where he holds school records in receptions (268), receiving yards (3,551), touchdown catches (28) and all-purpose yards (5,341). In 2008, Roosevelt set the school’s single-season receiving records with 104 catches for 1,402 yards and 13 touchdowns. Roosevelt will wear No. 18.
Williams was signed to the team’s practice squad on October 12th after being released by New England on September 4th. The 6-1, 240-pound Southern California product originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round (155th overall) draft choice of the Jaguars in 2008. With Jacksonville in 2008, Williams appeared in six games on special teams, totaling three tackles and one forced fumble. Williams spent portions of the 2009 season on the practice squads of Seattle and New England before joining the Patriots’ 53-man roster on January 6th. Williams will wear No. 93.
Buffalo also announced that LBs Keith Ellison and Shawne Merriman have been placed on Injured Reserve.
Eyewitness Sports Director Jeff Russo will have highlights of the Bills - Steelers matchup Sunday.