BY Adam Lewis 11:59AM 08/26/2013

Ex-Coug QB Tuel might start in week 1 for Bills

Former WSU starter Jeff Tuel could make NFL history if he starts the Bills’ season opener.

QB Jeff Tuel has put himself in position to start for the Bills in Week 1. / Greg Davis Photography

Well, that escalated quickly.

From undrafted rookie free agent to third-string quarterback, to the Buffalo Bills’ projected starter in Week 1 against the New England Patriots, former Washington State QB Jeff Tuel has undergone a month of August that no draft expert, or even most devoted Cougars fan, envisioned.

A knee injury to projected rookie starter E.J. Manuel in Buffalo’s second game of the preseason pushed Tuel, at least temporarily, to the No. 2 spot. Then, QB Kevin Kolb, the backup, suffered a concussion Saturday against the Redskins, placing the 29-year-old’s career on hold.

The series of events for a tormented franchise has given Tuel the opportunity to re-write his own story, placing behind him the four years he spent in Pullman running for his life playing behind the conference’s most futile offensive line. The Fresno, CA native would become the first undrafted rookie free agent since the latest format of the NFL Draft (1967) was installed to start for his team in Week 1.

The Bills Monday signed free agent QB Matt Leinart, who spent 2012 as a backup for the Oakland Raiders. They also traded for Thaddeus Lewis, a quarterback who went undrafted out of Duke, but last season started the final game for the Cleveland Browns, going 22 of 32 for 204 yards and a touchdown.

Neither are expected immediately to push Tuel out of the starting role. Bills coach Doug Marrone remained hopeful Sunday that Manuel could return for the season opener, but it is more likely he won’t be back until Week 2.

That means, Tuel, 22, will almost certainly receive his chance Sept. 8, when Buffalo opens the regular season at home against New England.

Seahawks put fifth-round draftee on injured reserve

The Seahawks Monday put rookie DT Jesse Williams on injured reserve, released seven players, and terminated the contract of WR Brett Swain.

The Seahawks cut TE Andrei Lintz, LB Kyle Knox, TE Jameson Konz, WR Perez Ashford, TE/LS Kyle Nelson, DT Martin Parker and LB Craig Wilkins.

Williams, a native of Australia, had knee problems during his college career at Alabama, but the Seahawks were hopeful he was healthy enough to be in the depth. But he was limited in training camp almost from the start. The IR means he is out for the season.

Another rookie D-lineman, Jordan Hill, is out for awhile with a strained bicep.



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