Veteran cornerback Terrence McGee was placed on season-ending injured reserve and receiver Marcus Easley was promoted off the practice squad Tuesday after the Buffalo Bills made a series of moves to address their banged-up roster.
The Bills also placed starting right tackle Erik Pears (hip/groin) on injured reserve and released rookie kicker John Potter. That leaves Buffalo (3-5) with two roster spots left to fill as the team prepares to play at AFC East rival New England (5-3) on Sunday.
Easley's promotion means the Bills' 2010 fourth-round draft pick out of Connecticut will finally have a chance to make his NFL debut. Easley missed his entire rookie season because of a knee injury, and then missed all of last season because of a heart condition that has since been corrected.
Buffalo has a question mark at receiver with starter Stevie Johnson slowed after he bruised his right thigh in a 21-9 loss at Houston on Sunday. Coach Chan Gailey has said that while Johnson is expected to be limited in practice this week, he should be healthy to play against New England.
The Bills are already missing receiver David Nelson, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in Buffalo's 48-28 season-opening loss at the New York Jets.
Buffalo has lost four of its past five games, and its passing attack has particularly sputtered in its last four outings. It's a stretch during which quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has averaged 186 yards passing, with three touchdowns, two interceptions and two lost fumbles.
For McGee, it's the latest setback for the 10-year veteran who landed on IR for the third time in four years. McGee's been hampered by a left knee injury that had not fully healed since he had surgery this past offseason.
McGee's agent, Ron Raccuia, said his client will likely require a second operation, but expects him to be fully healthy to play next year.
McGee has one more year left on a contract he restructured in February to take into account the possibility he wouldn't be able to finish this season. In accepting a cut in guaranteed money, McGee agreed to a series of playing and performance-based incentives.
After missing much of training camp, McGee was limited in playing the first seven games this season before being held out last week after aggravating the injury to his left knee.
The Bills couldn't afford counting on McGee because starter Aaron Williams is expected to miss at least two weeks after hurting his right knee last weekend.
Pears, who started seven games this year, landed on IR a week after visiting a specialist to evaluate an injury that had not fully healed since he had offseason surgery. Gailey had warned last week that Pears could require a second operation.
Potter proved expendable because he was limited to handling kickoffs, a job that veteran Rian Lindell reclaimed the past two games. The Bills had used their second of two seventh-round draft picks to select Potter out of Western Michigan because of his strong leg and ability to kick the ball out of the end zone.
Potter's production had tailed off. Of 26 kickoffs, he managed 13 touchbacks, and only four in his final three games.
With two roster spots yet to fill, one option for Buffalo is activating tight end Mike Caussin, who had offseason surgery on his right knee. After opening this season on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list, Caussin resumed practicing last week and is eligible to be activated within the next two weeks.
In another move, the Bills signed receiver Chris Hogan to their practice squad. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, Hogan split last season on the practice squads for the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins.
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