By Jay Skurski
The Buffalo Bills opened up a spot on their 53-man roster today to promote quarterback Thad Lewis by placing rookie kicker Dustin Hopkins on injured reserve.
Hopkins, 23, joined the Bills as a sixth-round draft choice out of Florida State in April. He beat out veteran Rian Lindell for the team's kicking job in training camp, but suffered a groin injury prior to the start of the regular season and has not appeared in a game.
Bills coach Doug Marrone said Hopkins, who returned to practice on a limited basis last week, is still not able to perform kickoffs, which is why the team made the move.
"The problem was that we were bringing him along, we were one step in kicking field goals. The bigger issue is once we did the kickoff, which is obviously a much different type of movement, then it was like 'whoa.' So we didn't really know where we were until we got to that step. ... That movement is far behind," Marrone said.
Veteran Dan Carpenter was signed to fill in for Hopkins and has been a reliable replacement. Carpenter missed his first field goal of the season, but has gone 11 of 12 since, including two makes from 50-plus yards.