Some NFL players generate more headlines for what happens off the field than for what happens on it. According to NBC Sports, the Buffalo Bills are releasing IK Enemkpali soon. A torn ACL injury is going to cost the 25-year-old outside linebacker this upcoming season, so the Bills need to move on.
Every NFL team knows about injuries at this point in the year. Everyone has to cope with it and try to find replacements before the regular season starts. The Buffalo Bills are no exception. They see how badly their depth has been depleted with injuries to their linebackers.
With the 19th overall selection in the NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills chose Shaq Lawson from Clemson. While he played defensive end in college, the Bills had plans of moving him to outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. A shoulder surgery is going to prevent Lawson from being ready when the regular season starts.
Injury updates:— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) August 15, 2016
-IK Enemkpali out for the season with a torn ACL
-Aaron Williams going through concussion protocol pic.twitter.com/bM3TuZhpFa
In the NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills traded up to the 41st overall selection so that they could grab Reggie Ragland from Alabama. Unfortunately for Ragland and the Bills, the talented inside linebacker is going to miss his rookie season in the National Football League because of a torn ACL.
Veteran linebacker Manny Lawson is still on the roster. However, the Buffalo Bills do not know for sure when they are going to get him back from injuries. Bills head coach Rex Ryan recently stated with confidence that Lawson is going to be ready when the NFL regular season begins.
Brandon Spikes and David Hawthorne have been around the NFL for a couple of seasons each. Both were brought in by the Buffalo Bills to provide depth at linebacker this summer. Though they can play, the Bills were hoping that they would be backup options.
All of the injuries were why IK Enemkpali was receiving reps with the first team defense in training camp. He was lined up opposite Jerry Hughes. The belief was the Enemkpali was going to be a starter for the Buffalo Bills while the team waited for players to recover from injuries, but that is out the window now.
Since his job is on the line, Rex Ryan is going to do whatever he needs to do in order to field a competitive defense. That is why Ryan refuses to rule out the possibility of signing a linebacker or two in free agency.
The Buffalo Bills have reportedly already signed Kroy Biermann, as reported by NFL. The 330-year-oldlinebacker spent several seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, but management did not view him as part of their future, so he was allowed to hit free agency. That might turn out to be quite beneficial to the Bills.
Some in the NFL felt that the Buffalo Bills only signed IK Enemkpali because Rex Ryan wanted to take a jab at the New York Jets, the team that formerly employed him. Enemkpali made national headlines when he was with the Jets because he punched starting quarterback Geno Smith.
The New York Jets pay a visit to the Buffalo Bills on September 15, but the drama will not be nearly what it could be. IK Enemkpali will no longer be with the Bills, while Geno Smith will be relegated to being a backup behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, who finally signed a new contract after negotiations lasted for several weeks.
While this is considered a huge setback, IK Enemkpali might still have a future in the NFL. Recovering from a torn ACL injury is not easy, but it is not impossible. Enemkpali has to prove that he wants it enough.
[Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images]